Never Hear The Dreaded “No” Word Again

Tag: * Top Rated,Personal GrowthNeill Gibson

In a recent post I talked about how I try to hear everything as either “please” or “thank you,” and how this supports the quality of communication and connection I have with others, and thereby improves the quality of my relationships.

While that practice provides invaluable support for both my personal and professional relationships, there’s another practice I picked up along the way that fits with it hand-in-glove.No to no sign

Long ago I heard Kelly Bryson, author of Don’t Be Nice, Be Real, ask the question: “Where could you go if you weren’t afraid of ‘no’?”

He points out how many people are prevented from going after what they want in life by their fear of hearing that dreaded word, “NO!”

It’s a good point, and one that I’ve taken to heart. Here’s how the question occurs to me these days…

Where Could You Go If You Never Heard “No”?

What would it take to transform your fear of hearing the word “no” in your most important relationships–intimate, dating, family, work … ? Even better, how would it be if no one ever said “no” to you again?

Well, the easy way to never hear no is by never again asking anyone for anything. But that’s living kind of small isn’t it?

“Well, isn’t it inevitable,” you might ask, “that if you ask people for things that some of them are bound to say ‘no’?”

Here’s the trick–and it’s not really a trick at all.

Never hearing “no” starts by understanding that you never hear what other people say in the first place. Never!

You only hear what your brain tells you that you think they’ve said.

What’s the difference?

I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Somewhere I read that the words people use only convey 10% to 20% of the meaning that is intended. Another 20% to 30% is conveyed through intonation, pitch, pacing, etc. of the voice. And the remainder, the bulk of the meaning, is conveyed through facial expression and body language.

Then your own frame of mind gets added in, and your circumstances, and everything else that goes along with the way your brain is influenced in its interpretation.

And here’s where your interpretation gets even more dubious.

The more reactive you are to hearing certain things the more your transparent beliefs, unacknowledged commitments and habitual interpretations are likely to cause you to misinterpret the other person’s intended meaning.

It seems obvious that you never hear what somebody else says, you only hear what your brain has interpreted that they’ve said.

How to Hear “No” as “Yes”

The problem with the word “no” is that it conveys too little information. “No” is actually an expression that a person wants something different than what you’ve requested, but without any explanation of what they do want instead.

That’s why I don’t think there is a more emotionally charged word in the language than the word “no”. It conveys too little information–and we usually fill in the blanks with the worst possible stories.

I’ve come to understand that whenever a person says “no” to something I’ve requested, they’re actually saying “yes” to a different strategy than the one they inferred from my request.

“No” simply means that they prefer a different strategy they believe is more likely to get them what they value or what they need.

The “Yes” Guess Game

So people never say “no” to what you’ve requested. They’re always saying “yes” to something else that they prefer, but they’re not letting you in on what they’re saying “yes” to.

In my mind, negotiation is all about creating alignment in the areas of values and strategies–and in that order.

So, since I can’t hear “no” anymore, my natural inclination is to begin to discover the unexpressed values and strategies that the other person prefers to the ones implicit in my request.

What’s most important for me here is to make sure that wherever we end up in the negotiation, we find strategies that are entirely in harmony with both of our values and that don’t leave anything out that either of us need to be satisfied.

Turning “No” into Know

How to orchestrate such a negotiation is a little bit beyond the scope of one blog post. Simply put, you need to have a conversation that primarily has your attention focused on creating an alignment of your values. Once this alignment has been achieved then, and only then, try work out strategies that will be successful in respecting what everyone wants.

Even without all of the distinctions you may need to have such a conversation, hopefully you’ve gotten the gist of how it might possible that you would never hear “no” again.

Because really “no” is only a poorly expressed “yes.”

(Mmmmm, “Distinctions!” There is a juicy topic…)

Would You Take On This Practice – Yes or No?

Again, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about the possibility of never hearing “no” again, and what happens the next time you try hearing “yes” instead.

Until next time …

Committed to Your Success,
Neill Gibson

It’s All About Happiness

Tag: Happiness,Stress ReliefBeth and Neill

Happiness… Want Some?

If you continue reading our blog for any length time, you’ll begin to notice that we talk a lot about happiness. What it’s is, how to get it, and how to keep it alive and well in your life. We go on about this topic as much as we do, because we believe at the base of everything–and we mean everything–is our desire to be happy. Everything we say, everything we do and everything we strive for is motivated by our longing to be happy.

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, creating happiness is what our lives are all about. So once again, today’s blog post topic is happiness and information to support you in creating more happiness in your life.

This is an amazing video from one of our favorite organizations TED

TEDTalks: Dan Gilbert (2005) Dan Gilbert is a psychology professor at Harvard, and author of Stumbling on Happiness. In this memorable talk, filmed at TED2004, he demonstrates just how poor we humans are at predicting (or understanding) what will make us happy. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 22:02)

And here’s a short list of other people who are committed to creating more happiness in the world.

  • Happiness quotation from Virginia Woolf.
  • – This quotation is perhaps only glancingly related to the general topic of happiness, but it’s very significant to my personal happiness. First, because September 4 is my wedding anniversary, it has special meaning; and also because when …

  • Benjamin Barber: happiness doesn’t come from a shopping mall
  • – Benjamin Barber argues in his latest book, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, that the market has consumerism has begun to replace citizenship. From an interviewed in the Free Lance …

  • Recent self-help books on happiness
  • – Don’t forget my latest book, “100 Ways to Happiness: a guide for busy people”, available in all good book stores and at But for a review of some other (all …

  • al3x’s Rules for Computing Happiness
  • – Software. Use as little software as possible. Use software that does one thing well. Do not use software that does many things poorly. Do not use software that must sync over the internet to function. Do not use web applications that …

We hope this helps create more happiness in your life.

Until next time.

With love,

Beth and Neill

How to Actually Achieve Your Dreams

Tag: * Top Rated,Personal GrowthBeth and Neill

Dreams Do Come True

If you’re like most of us, at one point or another in your life you’ve had a dream. Maybe about being someone important, someone of influence.

Who hasn’t had fantasies–big dreams? Maybe your dream was to be a prima ballerina, and Olympic gold medalist or a New York Times best-selling author.

And how many of us haven’t dreamed of being rich, or successful, or being in happy, healthy relationships?


All too often our big dreams stay just that – dreams, and our great ambitions  fade into distant memories.

This my dear friends is sad but so often true. Rather than experiencing life as a thrilling adventures in self-realization, we get started believing the rumors that life is hard and just settle for what we can get.

But guess what? It’s never too late to achieve your or . Life really can be that thrilling adventure, if only we stop blaming others and take responsibility for getting what we want.

One of the biggest problems when it comes to achieving our goals and dreams is the language we use, either silently to ourselves or out loud to the world at large.

As Henry Ford said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

Too many of us get so wrapped up thinking we just can’t do something that we never even attempt it. It’s too hard. It’s just impossible. No one could do this.

But look around. If that were really true, there would be no discoveries, no advancements, and no new ideas.

It has been said that you can only have something if you believe it’s possible. One way to start believing something is possible is to experience some success–even little tiny successes–in the direction of what you believe is impossible.

Try it Out For Yourself

So if you have a dream and you’ve been holding yourself back with self-doubt and lack of confidence, try this exercise.

  • On a piece of paper write down something you want your life.
  • Under one heading, make a list of all the things you Can Do to get the thing you want.
  • Under another heading, list the actions you Might Be Willing To Do.
  • Under another heading, list the actions that seem “Impossible” For You To Do.

Now look at the list things you “Can Do” and commit to taking at least one of the actions each day. Then every day check them off when you’ve accomplish them.

As you gradually accomplish all of the actions you Can Do, start on the next list under the heading actions you “Might Be Willing To Do.”  Again, check each of them off when you’ve accomplish it.

When you’re done with both of those lists, move on to actions that seemed “Impossible For You To Do.”

You might be surprised, that as you move through this process, the actions you thought were impossible become more and more possible, and now the impossible strangely becomes possible after all.

So never stop dreaming my friend. Don’t get stuck in your own imagined limitations. Think big and don’t give up. Take every action you can that will move you towards those dreams. As you make small steps toward what you want–I promise–what you want will seem more and more attainable.

With love and deep appreciation for who you are,

Is More Self Esteem Really the Issue?

Tag: Personal Growth,Self EsteemBeth and Neill

Am I Good Enough?

self-esteem contemplation

Are you concerned that you’re not really good enough to achieve what you want– that you don’t really deserve to be happy? if this sounds familiar, then the first step is to determine what prevents you from having high self-esteem in the first place.

We believe so many people have low self-esteem because most of us grown up in cultures that use rewards and punishment as a way to get us to behave the way others want us to. As we grow up in this system we end up developing certain beliefs about ourselves. As we focus on these beliefs, we have experiences that reinforce these limiting beliefs which in turn create negative habitual thinking patterns about ourselves.

It’s the same as when you want a new car, as soon as you pick the exact model you want you begin to notice that car everywhere.

It’s no different when you focus your attention on yourself. If you think there’s no way you’re good enough to get what you want, it’s guaranteed you’ll notice yourself not being good enough to get what you want again and again.

Experience the Difference

These negative beliefs you create about yourself, prevent you from having confidence in what you can achieve. They also dramatically limit the possibilities you have about what you can do and who you see yourself to be. As you become more and more conscious of these limiting beliefs, the sooner you’re able to create more of what you want in your life. This is how you raise self-esteem–by having experiences that prove you are competent and able to achieve what you set out to do.

Power Up Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem Today!

Today, start paying attention to what you’re thinking. Anytime you feel uncomfortable, Ask yourself the question: “What negative belief is preventing me from enjoying this moment?” if you find one… start focusing your attention on something you enjoy in the situation, even if it’s something small. Because what you focus your attention on will grow.

Our goal is to support you in creating a life you love. We know we’re not the only ones with great ideas or have found ways that might support you. For this reason, from time to time we introduce you to others and their posts that we’ve enjoyed and think you might as well.

Here are a few other people talking about self-esteem and what they’ve discovered. Enjoy!

With love,


The Problem With Building High Self Esteem – But the problem that we describe as “low self esteem” is actually a fear that we aren’t really worthy. It’s about feelings of low self worth. And that’s why we react so strongly and with such emotion. Healthy self esteem is the ability …

Living Passionately Radio Show – 09/04/08 Episode – 7 Steps to Rebuilding your Self-Esteem after Divorce – The reason for and the process of divorce is as varied as the shape of snowflakes. There is however a commonality among most divorce survivors – low self-esteem. …

How To Battle Low Self-Esteem – Voice blog post on

Building Confidence and Self Esteem in Children – Building Confidence and Self Esteem in Children There are two things that go hand in hand making who the person is today. These are confidence and self esteem. If the person is unaware of one’s potential or what he or she can become, …

Don’t Give Up – Stop Settling For Less Now

I Guess You’ll Do.

Are You Settling for Less in Your Life?

Yes, this is just a silly little video–both funny and sad–but after watching it you might want to ask yourself these questions: Is my life the effect of societal expectations? Am I settling for less than what I truly want?

If so, you’re not alone. We believe settling for less happens because people haven’t discovered what they are truly passionate about–what brings joy and meaning to their lives. Or, if they do know what they’re passionate about, they’re not sure how to create a life that embodies this passion.

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, try asking yourself these questions:

1. What brings me the greatest joy?
2. How do I most like spending my time?
3. Who is the person I admire most in the world?

Your answers to these questions will give you clues to what you are passionate about. When you learn the answer to these questions–and get to the core of what you’re passionate about–you can begin discovering ways you can experience more of these things in your life.

Knowing what’s most important to you is the very first step you must take in order to stop settling and start creating the life you truly want.

Take the time to survey your life and answer the questions above. Pick at least one of the qualities you want to experience in your life. Then identify at least two ways that this quality already exists in your life. If it doesn’t exist, then come up with at least one action you can take to create it. After you’ve taken this action notice what starts to happen.

Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.
With love,

Beth and Neill

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