The Most Dangerous Word in the World

Yes, I’m trying to copy the current viral blogs with their over the top and melodramatic headlines….

I don’t have scientific proof that this particular word is the most dangerous word in the world.

But I know that it has the power to destroy, either in an instant or over time.

It has the power to drain resources and deplete energy.

It has the power to cause consternation and frustration in others.

People might think this word is the most powerful word in a good way. This normally is not the case. The word can be used for good. But oftentimes – even more often – it is used for evil.

Drumroll Please…

The word: “Yes”. 

The danger of “Yes” is that it feels so good.

It makes people smile when we say yes to their requests on our time. And then our energy, along with our time, is destroyed and depeted.

It makes us feel good when we say yes to eat this, drink that, buy that, etc. And then our health, budgets, judgment, and so forth are put at risk.

It feels good when we say “Yes” to the loudest voice even if the loudest voice represents number 17 on our list of priorities and numbers 1-5 suffer greatly because our “Yes” takes us away from the relationships, disciplines, and values most important to us.

“Yes” is a deceptive word. Most of us can think of quite a few instances when we wished we had said “No” instead of “Yes”.

The Antidote for “Yes”

I’ve written before about the importance of “No”. “No”, although a negative word, is lifegiving.

It gives us time, money, focus, energy, and growth. “No” gives us space. It creates boundaries. It keeps our priorities in line.

To say “No” requires courage, moral fortitude, and clarity.

I write about this because it is a skill I’m not awesome at.

Better to say “No” and let people think you’re a jerk than to say “Yes” when you shouldn’t and prove those people right.

“Yes” Can be a Force for Good

If we’re skilled at saying “No”, then the power of a well-placed “Yes” cannot be underestimated.

The “Yes” is still dangerous, but this time it’s dangerous to the road blocks that are standing between you and your most important goals and values.

If we say “Yes” to the right things, then we can be effective.

But we must be surgical with our “Yes”.  We must be a sniper with our “Yes”.

Yes will still be the most dangerous word in the world, but sometimes dangerous is good.

Use your “Yes” very, very wisely.

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I’ve created a Resource Page of books and/or products that I use and would recommend. I’ll be working on it over the next few weeks, but feel free to jump over there and have a look. The book Essentialism fleshes out this idea of saying ‘no’ vs. ‘yes’ with some additional backbone.

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