Shortform post

On the Importance of Saying “No” to Yourself

2 min read

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The importance of saying no to yourself - The Side Blogger
Human beings are weird—we’re always saying “yes” to things we shouldn’t, and saying “no” to things we should say yes to. Here are some things we should say yes to:

  • self-care
  • things that will improve our physical and mental health
  • going after the things we really, really want
  • generosity and kindness
  • knowledge
  • acceptance of those who are different from us

etc.

But this article is about the other things—things we say yes to when we really shouldn’t. Now, I can write an entire research paper on things we must say no to. But, for the sake of brevity, allow me to demonstrate with an example.

I have an obsessive personality. This often gets me into trouble. Take my recent obsessions, for example.

Some time ago, after Medium started raining money on their writers, it got into my head that I also wanted to get a bonus. So I wrote and published on that platform like a maniac for almost two months and got myself a puny $50 bonus for the month of July. But then I also discovered another writing platform called Newsbreak and decided to give that platform a go. Then, a couple of days ago, I found out that Quora was starting a new program where writers can earn money from their answers. And I had to give that a go too!

Oh, and did I mention that I have another blog? yeah… this blog!

But wait, didn’t I also start grad school last year? Oh yes, I totally did!

You see what I’m getting at?

Sometimes I want to do it all, and I lose focus of what’s important.

Here’s what’s important:

This blog

Because this blog is what pays the rent and bills.

Grad school

Because that’s my dream

Being a good writer

That is also my dream.

Now I could aim and be a shitty writer by writing too many shitty articles on five different platforms where quantity reigns over quality. Or, I could take some time to really think about the kind of writer I want to be, and focus on creating quality and not write for the sake of just writing alone.

So yes, I’m saying “no” to a few things, like Newsbreak, Vocal, Quora. No, I’m not saying “no” to my dream of becoming a writer; but in fact, by saying “no” to distractions, I can now prioritize the real dreams.

But guys, it takes constant rethinking and reevaluating life, goals, and priorities. That’s the only way to keep ourselves in check. I’ve made it a habit to realign my priorities every quarter now. For someone like me who’s always kind of all over the place, it’s not easy; but perhaps that’s why it is all the more important that I do this exercise! I write down in my journal what I need to do, and what I need to NOT do.

Do I always stick to these priorities? Hell no. I mean, the last two months are prime examples of me failing at all the goals… haah…

Anyhow, earlier this year my aim was to try and publish in reputable magazines. Look at me now; how easily I forgot and let go of my initial goal for the sake of chasing the next shiny object. Ugh!

So, here’s to saying “no” to ourselves when we start chasing distractions and saying “yes” to what truly matters.

Who’s with me?

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Maliha
Maliha
Maliha created The Side Blogger as an experiment to see if turning a blog into a profitable business was a possibility for moonlighting side bloggers. Turned out, it is! Learn more about Maliha and TSB here. If you've found this blog helpful, you can support TSB here.
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