According to Jony Ive, there was one exercise that Steve Jobs reminded him of every single day – the practice of saying ‘no’.
At least once a day, Jobs would confront Ive and ask him “How many times did you say ‘no’ today?” and then push him to say it even more.
The whole point of the exercise was to stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted and say ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way. Oftentimes you don’t even have to say ’no’ to other people, instead you’ll say it to yourself.
Say ‘no’ to taking a break. Say ‘no’ to allowing yourself to procrastinate. Say ‘no’ to re-ordering your todo list. Say ’no’ to coming up with excuses on why you can’t do the thing you were supposed to do just now. Say ’no’ to your insecurities and fears.
Saying ’no’ is incredibly hard and sometimes you’ll choose the easier path and just give in. That’s just human nature, and we’ve all been there. But today you should say ’no’ at least a few times. Start by practicing this on me. Simply comment with a single word: No.