"Every important Yes requires a thousand Nos, says William Ury, director of the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University. That seemingly paradoxical insight came to the author of The Power of a Positive No at a breakfast meeting with famed investment wizard Warren Buffet. "
I don't understand your work on getting to yes (the title of Ury's first bestseller)," Buffet told Ury. "I sit there all day, looking at investment proposals. All day long I say No, No, No, No, and No - until I see one that exactly matched what I was looking for. Then I say Yes.
All I have to do is say Yes a few times in my life and I've made my fortune," Buffet concluded. The crux of Ury's argument is that you cannot truly say Yes to your priorities unless you can truly say No to other demands on your time, attention, and resources. Yet why do so many of us keep on saying Yes when we ought to be saying No?
Blame it on the awesome power of No. Ury concedes that No may be the most powerful word in the language but it's also potentially the most destructive, which is why it's hard to say it. "All too often, we cannot bring ourselves to say No when we want to and know we should," Ury writes, "Or we do say No but say it in a
way that blocks agreement and destroys relationships.
We submit to inappropriate demands, injustice, even abuse - or we engage in destructive fighting in which everyone loses." The way out of such an impasse involves saying No in a nice manner. The Bhagavad Gita calls it the 'non-burning No' which does not hurt. By delivering a respectful, decisive No you can actually strengthen your relationship with the person at the receiving end, says Ury.
Another option, according to him, is to sandwich your No between two Yeses. This allows you to preserve your relationship, while asserting your stand."
Do you agree?
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