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Day #21: "Never Say Yes On The Phone"
Today's invaluable lessons from Daniel Kahneman and Oliver Sacks
“Never say yes on the spot.
Always give yourself some space.
Make it a rule. Tell people. ”
~ Daniel Kahneman
1. Make NO Part of Your Physical Space
The prolific Oliver Sacks says, “Art requires undisturbed personal space for the “quickenings” of the creative process to unfold slowly” — something Sacks protected with great discipline as he blossomed into a prolific writer himself.
In his house on City Island, he tacked a sign to the wall above his desk that simply read “NO!” — “reminding himself to say no to invitations so he could preserve writing time, he explains. It is no accident that Sacks dedicates the final sentences in his autobiography to this great love of writing and, in a sentiment that calls to mind the psychology of flow, fuses it with his great gift for science.
2. “Never say Yes on the phone”
When Daniel Kahneman is on the phone, he says, ‘my rule is: I never say yes on the phone. I’ll email you later after I think about it more.’ And when asked how often he later says yes, he responded ‘rarely.’
The same goes for in-person conversations, texts and emails. Even if eventually you land on a well-considered Yes, let your default position be “Let me get back to you.”
Remember Day #3’s lessons from The Power Of The Pause: Revisit that lesson and integrate it into your automated response to any and every request for your time and attention. Create a system— a rule. And stick to it.
You think it will make people respect you less? Quite the contrary: They will respect you more.
Baby steps. NO takes practice. Start small, work your way up.
Tell me how you’re going with using these insights in the comments.
― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast & Slow