That used to come easy to me. Now we pride ourselves on having a million excuses — all legitimate. I need to work late on that front yard project. I simply must clean the house because I promised so-and-so they could come over for a multi-course dinner. Let me work a little more on that project. I have ten free minutes, I better fill them with a podcast!
I don’t have time to contemplate.
Saying no to bad things is a no-brainer; saying no to good things is impossible with the wrong mindset. I read Essentialism by Greg McKeown this past fall and it helped change that framework. When I had fewer opportunities to pursue 15 years ago, it was easy to say yes to everything because I could afford the time and I needed to strike gold, that meant pursuing a number of opportunities. Now, that is no longer the case. The difficulty is choosing between “great” and “good”, not “good” and “bad.”
Sometimes it’s even between “great” and “great.” The sucky party is that I have to say no to a great thing. The amazing part is that I can afford myself to say yes to a great thing or say no to two great things because of what I’m already pursuing!
So in the early sunrise of 2017, reflect on what you have to give up to reflect. Think on what can be surrendered so you’re not constantly strapped for time, running from thing to thing and giving friends, family, teammates, and your work only part of you mind. Be all there.
Saying no is never easy. It means trusting others to do what needs to be done. It means giving away legos. It means I may feel like I have less to share in this week’s show and tell. But it means what few things remain are insanely better in quality. Cheap is expensive, and so trying to stretch resources (time, in this case) over too many projects, too many people, and not having the mindspace to think.
So slow down. January 2017 is here, knocking on the door and ready to enter. Reflect on your 2016. Reflect on your life. As Switchfoot says in This Is Your Life, “Are you who you want to be?”