Never Say No

This is not an essay on sticking it out through abusive and/or demeaning relationships, stagnant jobs and demoralizing financial situations. This is a piece on the value of not saying no, to directions provided  geared toward our individual successes.

It is a commentary on what positive and successful people seem to have done and encompassed into their lives, and most importantly, a reflection of tools that are inherent to us. Never say No sounds harsh, however, at the end of this essay, I posit that it will be a useful mantra to adhere to, if not consider, in the upward assent to spiritual and material fulfillment.

A lot of material is available that cover the keys to success and for some strange reason, while we are reading these writings or watching people talk we seem to “get” it but not really. The not really part kicks in when we leave the room, the writing or topic and are faced the next day with Life. What we believe and what we see are not aligned and for this reason, we tend to trust our eyes more often, for it is easier to trust what one sees. We also trust what our eyes tell us about the people writing or speaking on these materials. We look Up to them but not really At them. By looking up to them we use their information as portals for success and attempt as much as possible to integrate, align and morph their teachings into our own lives, failing for we are all blessed and cursed with different ways and levels of understanding.

The blessing comes into play once we understand that we are all created equal, however individually unique. There are no two exact alike creatures on this planet. The loudest example is in our learning. We are taught common material yet interpret this differently. We reflect differences in the fractured societies we live in, whereby there are different ways of seeing the same things.  The curses come in whereby we simply do not understand ourselves, our mode of understanding, or what we really are taking in when one speaks to us. We apply the same conventions that worked for others to ourselves, and once faced with an immediate disconnect, dismiss the received information and proceed to shut down that area of hope in our brain. By looking At the individuals speaking to us, are we better able to understand their constant human struggle and ways in which they elevated themselves to their current standing. We are able to accept their flaws and appreciate the difficulties experienced along the way. While looking Up at someone/thing, we place the object on a pedestal and turn the relationship into one of idolatry, whereby a following not learning takes place. Growth cannot precede from this, nor can we ever truly hope to learn anything substantial to enforce into our own lives. We therefore create immediate or future pitfalls of failure for ourselves.

What would work in our lives, is first acknowledging that we have “impossible” goals and dreams. We are acknowledging that we have interests, visions, goals, dreams, wishes and plans that are not directly aligned with our realities. We are acknowledging that this is okay, that we did not plant these things in our minds and for some, have struggled for a very long time to override them to no avail. We have impossible goals and dreams in our reality that are are I’m-Possible in our hearts. We are acknowledging that because our ideas and realities are not aligned, we must begin to work to make them one, and realize that this will require a lot of hard work. We have heard this term before, the hard work part. We are also pretty sure we work hard at what we do for the most part if not everyday, and are wondering whether there is something wrong with our plans, or current work ethic that is preventing the IT from happening. It is confusing to work hard and diligently for a long time at something that you believe in and still not see the results that you want, all along listening to people and things advise you to work harder and be patient.

If this is the case, consider this fact. You may be working hard and diligently at your dream, however, for as long as you have been working at it, including your current job, how many chances have you taken. How many opportunities have you grabbed that were offered to you, however, misaligned with your current position and future plans. How many times have you said No, this is not for Me. If you have attempted any of those opportunities and gotten burnt because they ended up being a waste of your time and resource in more ways than you care to count, how many of them did you really try or did you figure that walking out on one or two opportunities are enough to speak on the many years of your life? In the world of experience with bad situations and those you can count, are they truly that representative of the years you have spent on this earth or have you selectively forgotten the opportunities that worked out, and the ones waiting for you ahead.

Is one bad cup of coffee from a particular fast-food chain, no matter the reaction, that serious that you discount ever going back there for as long as you live? What if your future friend, job, spouse or vacation was waiting for you there? It may be easy to wish this line of thinking away by positing that the chances of meeting such an opportunity at a coffee shop are remote, however, the truth is, you don’t know, and never will know, because you shut that door to chance a long time ago. You cannot speak of what you do not know. Hearing about it does not count. It must be lived (not tried) to be spoken of as experience. Is it possible then friend, that the frustrations experienced at your current level are truly because you have an or the idea of what you are waiting for, and are literally wishing (wasting) your thought into physical action. If this is so, you have the rest of your life to diligently work at the same thing to look forward to. That next step and thing that you hunger for, is not going to step out of its path to get into your way. You are the one to do it. 

In a different scenario, it could be that we are diligently working all the opportunities that we see and are provided, so much so that sometimes it seems like we are doing totally unrelated things in an effort to get to our dream/goal. If we are not focused in our goal, which is simply this; Never Letting It Go, then the confusion we see on other peoples’ faces as they watch our linear and diagonal assent and descent may begin to wear at and wear on us, so that we take on and become confused (like them). We are doing what we believe we are supposed to be doing yet we still don’t see it. If anything, what we see, is close to an abuse of our capacities and efforts by parties around us that know we are aspiring for something else or greater. If we are not highly self-motivated individuals, we can allow these thoughts to determine our next steps which is to become automated, that is, produce good results without imparting any of our passion, zeal or hard work into it. In essence, we begin to die or “waste away” as more commonly used.

What we do not realize in these situations, is that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. That is, we are working all angles, all opportunities, all avenues with all the zeal, determination and passion our minds, bodies and spirits muster (and it is a lot! for there are unexplained days of tiredness in which we still work hard at what we are doing). We are progressing on even though everything around us tells us that what we hope and aspire for is but a dream. In this instance, we are choosing not to believe with our eyes but with our hearts and minds.

A lot of the things we do will not make sense to people, let alone us. We find ourselves driven to start projects, businesses and alliances that do not make sense and sometimes, even aggravates us with the level of “unnecessary” commitment we have forced ourselves into. What we do know for a fact however, is that there is an unexplained drive to proceed in this given direction, a keen awareness that somewhere down the line, what we are doing is going to count and the present knowledge that when we are doing what we do, we are never truly alone and that there is someone watching.

For believers of Christ and of whom this line of thought is a constant and present peace keeper and life propeller, we are always cognizant of the fact that in absence of a human being watching, He is watching and that knowledge keeps us proceeding in an upward manner. For others, it will always be the “unexplained force”, “coincidence”, “as luck would have it”, “I don’t know why” explanations. Jumping on the bandwagon and realizing that self improvement does not only affect one but all facets of our make-up (mind, body, soul) thus bringing us closer to our Creator, will alleviate a lot of the uncertainty experienced. This is the peace and hope that Christians speak of. It is not that we are not working hard at what we want, we are doing so but with a better understanding of how saying Yes works.

Saying Yes always to working hard despite our feeling of the hour or day, working diligently, building relationships, garnering contacts and grabbing opportunities, says that we trust in our abilities. It says that we believe in ourselves so much so that we are aware that the journey to our destination is as equally if not more important than the destination. We are not looking at these opportunities as ways to deter us from our goals and dreams, rather, we are looking at them as opportunities, the unique experience afforded to us. We can trust that God will not lead us in a round about manner for the sake of kicks and giggles. He is not and does not think like man. Man’s motives are suspect. We may start out with the calling of our hearts and endeavor to realize them in our lifetime, however, because we are human, our motives will in fact turn suspect. Time will be wasted, lessons will not be learned, integrity will not be built, important skills and virtues will not be honed. Vices will be acquired, expanded and/or abused. God does not think like that and once we understand this, we never question where He leads us, only trust, then see His incredible plan.

Never say no, means understanding that what our heart tells us is enough. We trust that it is God speaking to us about our goals, dreams and the paths we must take in order to become what we believe and know we are to be. It also means that, for those of us who have no idea, no slight inclination toward our life purpose, that we will be led in the right direction and things will make absolute sense. Not saying no, means that pride will be shorn and humility and patience sown. These last two will allow us to recognize learning and growth opportunities, as well as help us understand the people with whom we interact with. If we have a loud and boisterous personality, this does not give us permission to spread it across the globe for all to see and hear. It means knowing that even in silence or quiet talk and debate, that we are confident enough within ourselves to not be intimidated by anything. In battle one does not produce all weapons of war and set them out on the field in the hopes of intimidating the other party. What this does unfortunately, is tell the other party exactly what one doesn’t have. In allowing pride to determine our steps, we reveal our narrow minded and limited world and viewpoint, thus repelling any parties and subsequent opportunities that may have propelled us ahead.

In working diligently at every little task, seeking opportunities and honing life and work skills, we are effectively fighting for our success. It may not seem like it because the approach being taken here does not fit the standard “go-getter” aggressive approach advocated in the material world. I would like to suggest that in fact, by doing these things, you are exposing the same characteristics extolled. You have acknowledged that your goals, dreams and desires are Im-possible in your current reality, and are willing to do what it takes to get there. You have submitted to the Creator who not only made you but planted those goals and dreams in you! to speak to you on what road you should take to accomplish your goals. You are trusting and walking confidently in whatever direction you are led to, regardless of what your eyes tell you, employing the same hard work and diligence, confident in the knowledge that all the parts of your work and life will lead to a greater sum, and that in trusting that which is greater than yourself, you can only succeed. You are not being asked to meekly follow behind, you are being told to run to the finish line with the Wisest counsel and Defender by your side, and trust that you will reach your finish line. This is harder than any material job out there offering great compensation for the “entrepreneurial” type.

God is asking you to work for yourself in serving Him and others with what you do and are about to do. This does not mean quitting your job and becoming a preacher. It means recognizing that you have the heart, passion, drive and zeal to go after what you want, you are also aware that you cannot do this on your own accord, for the fact that you are not God. You may decide to employ your own reliance, choosing your mind rather than a “higher” being, however, you fool only yourself in believing that you are a walking coincidence of flesh and bones, merely designed by a chance or planned encounter between your parents. If it makes you feel good about life, proceed with your train of thought. I do know that this is the line of thought you have allowed to prevail in your life because it is safer to feel nothing and decry everything so that you do not get hurt or in a situation of which you have no control.

For those willing to try anything to attain personal happiness, the answer is really simple. Keep your focus (hold onto your dream, listen with your heart and not your eyes), Keep God primary in your heart (Christ will sustain you, guide you, show you) and keep doing everything diligently and with the same passion and zeal that you will be given once you do really, truly and finally! believe that you are not a coincidence, you have a purpose, you were not born to be miserable, you deserve good things, good things deserve you, you are ultimately, significantly and specially loved, not by this world for that love could never be enough, but by that which created you and called you by name. Your ideas, dreams and passions come from somewhere. It definitely did not germinate from you! It came from inside you, placed there from birth, patiently waiting to come into fruition.

For those who are aware of and experience this joy and knowledge, the message is keep working, keep striving, keep going, you are in fact fighting. Look at the lives of the great, those who did not follow their passions solely for material motives and means, rather those who sought to change people/things or affect change by sharing talents (gifts). They all saw and grabbed opportunities, listened to their hearts and followed the will of their souls (God’s manifestation) even though and especially when lives were at stake, or in lesser fashion, faced constant ridicule and marginalization from loved ones and peers. The greats pressed on and one day, one sweet day, one of those opportunities… was the one that they had been waiting for, the one they had been waiting for all their lives. In its coming, they were able to treat this the exact same way they did all previous opportunities, and move with the exact same passion, zeal, integrity and patience carefully engineered and structured into their lives so that they could enjoy their success for the the rest of their lives. Study too, the lives and achievements of the greats that were cut short , and understand that the inability to conquer and get rid of vices from the start as part of the “character training” fed these demons so that with greater power, wealth and responsibility, the acquisition and use of these vices materialized into central yet hidden parts of their lives.

As a final note on the phase “they all saw and grabbed opportunities…”, it must be stated that the common error in our human lives is to wait for opportunities to grab them. We believe that once we see the opportunity we will become aware of it, and jump right on it. We must simply not allow ourselves to define our worlds by interpretations that are not  congruent to our intended goals and dreams. Just remember that if you are a diligent worker who does not say no when asked to do anything, whether it seems goal related or not, that you are doing, you are seeing, seizing and utilizing all opportunities. To interpret this as being a walk-over or door-mat is utilizing our Egos to think for us. This becomes self-defeating in that soon enough, we begin to say no to doing what is asked of us, we begin to feel that we need to start standing up for our rights and freedoms by becoming more vocal. The path then taken is one determined by us and what we fail to realize, is that while we may still achieve our goal, it will never quite measure up to what God intended for us, for we have forced Him to move to the next plan He has for us, for He is still very much around. If we proceed on with what we are asked to do, diligently, our obedience, faith and sacrifice will be rewarded in ways that even our imaginations cannot fathom, in our lifetime and for life. Trust is the heavy ingredient required in this walk, hence the name walk of faith. You may say no to this opportunity, but remember not to complain too much about where you are and/or where your life is headed (tongue in cheek).

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Never Say No

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