Saying No To Many Good Things.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 12:29 AM Posted by Molly MacIntyre
One quote that has stuck in my mind the last year is "Say no to many good things, so you can say yes to a few great things." I absolutely LOVE that quote because like so many people, I subconsciously think I'm invincible. I really do think I can do it all- I'll have time, I always get it done "or I will stay up until I do." OK so maybe your not like me, you enjoy your freedom, you have a few big responsibilities but you don't feel pulled in many different directions... I envy you. I do so much but sometimes I feel like it's not enough. What is it that drives that? I recently did the Strengths Finders test, and the first two of my top five were Achiever and Activator.... ha, go figure (I really recommend you do that by the way- free when you buy the book). Have you ever started something with this idea of how it was going to go, and then months later realize it's really not going where you thought it would? I find that when I say "yes" to so many different things in my life, I have this idea of how it's going go, how I'm going to be able to put time into it. Then, months later reality hits and I begin to experience this rude awakening that "no, you can't do everything." Lets be honest with ourselves here because who really WANTS to do everything? We may all think we do (achievers), but no one wants to be that busy all the time.
For many people I believe the problem is that there are so many good things we could be doing. You could volunteer as a youth leader or community organizer, start an activities group, or go to Bible study, cooking class, or take dance lessons. Maybe you want to workout 7 days a week or run a marathon all while being a doctorate student and work 50+ each week. There is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, they're good, and when they can become a priority they are life giving and really fun. My question here is this... why do many things poorly, when you can do few things well? I struggle with this on a regular basis so I have to keep asking myself this very question. Maybe I need to say no to a lot of good things- the youth group, and the marathon, the Bible study and overtime at work.... for now. Maybe all I can do right now is what I know I have been called to do which is to be a good student while finishing my doctorate, and put in 37 hrs at work and no more. Doing them well, instead of doing a lot more and inevitably failing at all of them. Let me put this clearly, you can't have it all. A truly honest life will recognize that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Maybe being a teacher means you're not going to be a millionaire by the time you're 30, or maybe going to school year round means you don't get to go on vacation, and you have to live in the same city for the next 3 years.  You also may have to give up your dream of being a model if you decide to watch daytime TV and eat fast food, or better yet do them at the same time. All good things (minus the daytime TV and fast food), but you get my point. Choice. I am glad I have a choice. I'm beginning to notice I am much happier when I say no to a lot of the extras. It can be hard for someone like me because I am up for anything and I love being around people and doing something new, but I'm a lot happier when I say no sometimes. In doing that, I get to say yes to the real important stuff, which is so much better than being busy with no direction.

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