Blog September 5, 2007

No, no, no, no um ok, yes then…

Boundary setting is a recurring interest and theme here and I was interested to see this post over at The Chief Happiness Officer Just Say No – to that evil company. Alexander Kjerulf shares comments left on another post – can you be happy in an evil business? and they include this one from Michael Clarke which I rather liked:

One incident that’s stuck in my mind was an interview I had 24 years ago for a financial consultancy. The interviewer talked about money, about wealth, about owning yachts.
Then he began to talk about the losers, the [sorry, but I’m quoting] c**** who didn’t recognise money and its importance, that in five years you could walk away, that you could have other people doing the work for you. That the world had two kind of people – people like him and the “stupid c****” who didn’t understand. He went on and on. It was like talking to low-end devil.
Finally, he let me get a word in. “Sorry,” I said. “I’m afraid I’m one of the c****.” And I walked out. One of the more terrifying experiences of my life.

Meanwhile Matt is struggling to say “no” to his email addiction

At an individual level, each of us needs to do the same. I have something of an email habit, clicking “refresh” on my inbox like a rat in a Skinner Box – but I don’t have a PDA/Blackberry (which is a bit like a meth addict proudly claiming not to touch heroin). I have decided I need to have one email-free day a week. The computer will stay off*.
We also need to examine the relationships that are mediated through these technologies. Are we driving people crazy with our behaviour? How do we manage ourselves to get the best out of our interactions with others? For some of us, this might be too painful. Best get back to hitting them with emails/txts/IMs I guess – that’ll learn ’em.
What does all this boil down to? How we learn to say “no” better.

Perhaps the more interesting question is – how do we learn to say “yes” to what we really want better? Any ideas?

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  • Michael Clarke September 10, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Funny the places an off-the-cuff story ends up in! I might be inclined to quibble that “No!” can potentially be a highly affirmative act and “Yes!” (as in “Yes, I’ll sign up for Quechup!”) can be a decidedly negative one. But I like the way your question could be read as saying “Yes” to something you think can be improved, or that you can improve, even if it isn’t quite what you want yet – i.e. “How do we learn to say “yes” to what we really want [to make] better?” (instead of sitting around waiting for perfection).

  • annette September 10, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I agree with you Michael – I am a fan of “no” (trawl my archives if you don’t believe me!) but there’s always a yes that’s being agreed to if we say no and maybe we need to spend a bit more time paying attention to that…And I guess the thing about perfectionism is that the only thing perfectionists are perfect at is imperfectionism..