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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 143 Reinvent your life with Yoga > How to say NO

How to say NO

Oliver Burkeman focuses on tiny changes with the biggest impact. This month, we explore the one-word antidote for the disease to please

the life-tweak

The idea

In a world in which work is, effectively, infinite – there are always more emails and further demands on your time – it isn’t selfish to say ‘no’. On the contrary, it’s crucial for doing your job well. (An overly demanding boss may think he never wants you to say no, but he’s wrong if the result is poor work.) It’s vital in relationships, too. But, our psychology can work against us: we fear conflict; disappointing others; or seeming less than super capable. So, should you err on the side of people-pleasing, thus becoming overworked and resentful; or ignore others’ needs, which seems rude? Neither. The trick is to grasp that pleasing people, or doing what you think will please them, isn’t the same as actually helping them. ‘No’ is rarely pleasing – but it’s often helpful.

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The latest issue of Psychologies is now available to download. Featuring: Reinvent your life with Yoga, Grown-up gap year, Face-reading, Free online coaching plus much more