2 min read

Say No, Win More

Here's how you can win more in life by saying no. This seems contrary to popular advice, "say yes to every opportunity."
Say No, Win More

Here’s how you can win more in life by saying no. No, I’m not talking about when you say no to opportunities so that you can focus on what really matters. This is a different kind. It’s a lesson straight outta medical culture/practice — so I think if it helps doctors achieve more, then I think it will benefit you in your personal life too.

Essentially, in medicine, whenever you come across a situation where you are hesitant to take action or make a decision regarding patient care or otherwise, you should stop, say no, and seek help. This help can come from your similarly-tiered colleagues, seniors such as consultants, or even allied professionals. This is all about being able to recognise your limits, your ability, and your experience. When we are out of depth, it is better to say no and ask for help. If we think about what this achieves in medicine, then it becomes clear why it’s important in all aspects of life. When we seek help from those more experienced, we uphold a high standard of care and ensure we don’t harm the patient. We make sure our ego doesn’t assume the driver’s seat.

Now think how beneficial this is in all aspects of life. For example, recently I’ve been getting into spin biking as a form of improving my cardiovascular endurance, but I’m really not sure my form and positioning of the seat/armrest are correct. I’ve noticed my back is in a lot of pain after these sessions. So, rather than letting my ego assume everything’s fine, I’m going to say no — “no, I don’t know what I’m doing, please help me.” Next time I go to the gym, I’m going to ask one of the spin instructors to help me find the best seating/armrest position for me. Result: back, saved.

Recognising your limits and saying don’t know or can’t do something is a very hard thing to do at times. But the quicker we say no, the quicker we seek out the necessary advice and win by learning. So, screw your ego and say no more often.

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