Most Things Are a No

no response

I like to start my days working my ongoing Gmail Task list. The best way to complete a project is to simply delete it, forget about it and move on. So, the first thing I do is eliminate tasks and projects that may have originated with sincere intentions but lack impact towards my goals today.

Those are my first No’s in a day. This simple productivity practice keeps me evaluating what’s important towards my business and life goals. I start with the assumption that most things don’t matter.

I tell my kids that there are two kinds of people in the world:

  1. People that are waiting for something to happen
  2. People that are making things happen

Most people are waiting around waiting for something to happen. Our family is about making things happen.

However, that kind of initiative comes with a lot of No’s. Putting your ideas out there, making deals and driving towards results disrupts the status quo most people find security within. Perceived risk scares most people. So, being someone that creates ideas and makes ideas happen comes with a lot of knee-jerk No reactions.

But that’s ok with me. I do wish people were more naturally creative and driven. But the challenge is less about convincing others and more about finding the people that want to take action. Patrick Riley summarized it well when it comes to the vast majority of unresponsive, maybe people:

A maybe tempts you to sit around and hope for a yes. I treat a maybe as a no. Waiting stalls the process, makes you anxious, and takes the wind out of your sails. I say give her a few days to decide, then call her. If she says no, move on. If she isn’t available or won’t take your call, move on. You are looking for a person who wants to take action. A maybe person will never get you where you want to go.

There are a lot of maybe people out there. They can’t say, “No,” and they don’t want to say, “Yes.” But their lack of responsiveness is an implicit No. Too bad. Practicing the habit of inaction or lack of conviction has long-term consequences in business and relationships.

With the ever-increasing world of inattention and the fact that most people are highly disorganized, there’s going to be a lot of No’s out there in deal making, regardless of how apt the fit or valuable the proposition.

Accepting that reality helps me with my own sanity. But even more so, I can move on knowing that there are only the few that will take action. Most things are a no because of inertia; it’s easier to remain where you are.

The challenge becomes about being efficient and asking, “Is there any way this person can be a Yes?”

Persuasion or motivation may work. But if the case has been made and the best foot has been put forward, the rest of the Yes people out there are waiting to engage.

How good are you at moving on and assuming No’s?

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