The word no is one that we understand from a very young age. It’s defined by dictionary.com as a negative word used to express dissent, denial, or refusal. A word used to emphasize or introduce a negative statement. But depending on how you view the word no, it can and should be viewed positively and as a motivator.
When you’re a young child and told “no, don’t touch that”, “no, don’t eat that”, or “no, sit down”, it’s not done to hold you back. It’s said so you learn, so you can grow, so you can be a better person. This helps us learn that touching something hot can burn us, that standing on furniture isn’t polite, and that eating certain things may not be the best idea. It’s the word no that has a negative connotation, but so often should be looked at differently.
One of the greatest motivators of successful people is no. You can’t change the world, no you can’t design that, no you can’t be the best athlete. Being told we can’t do things is what increases our drive and makes us more determined. I’m someone who has always viewed no as a barrier and an opening for a question. When asking our parents if we could go see a friend and were told no, the first question was why. Why can’t we go see them?
We’re told we can be anything we want to be, but when we try, we’re told no. Some of the most common professions for a young child are professional athlete, astronaut, president, or some other wild profession from a five-year-old. But as we grow older, we’re told that we can’t become what we hope to be, so why ask the question in the first place? We’re told no to help keep us grounded and focused on what we should be.
I don’t want to hear no, but I also don’t want to hear yes every time. If we’re told we can do anything, why would we waste time doing it? If we can do something risky, it’s not risky. If we can do something dangerous, it’s not dangerous. It’s the idea of no and the idea of failing that is what we should learn to embrace and love about hearing no.
It’s the word no that keeps us up at night and makes us get up in the morning. It’s the word no that continues innovating and designing the next greatest creation. It’s the word no that forces us to be inquisitive to understand why and fill the holes in our ideas. What can I improve upon? What can I do to turn the next no into a yes?
I always think back to what may be the greatest commercial of all time, Apple’s Think Different.
Knowing there are flaws will help seal them now rather than later. Instead of looking at a no and taking it personally, know that the answer is out there, it’s only a matter of time. Just keep pushing forward!
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