The Power of "No"

In the first half of 2019, one of the popular self-help/self-improvement challenges was "Say yes to everything." You may have seen some of your friends and colleagues accept this challenge on social media.

Text by Leah Guren


The Power of “No”

Image: © convisum/

"Say yes to everything" is based on the idea that we become closed off to new experiences, new opportunities, and new friendships, and sometimes need a reminder to get out of our stodgy, small comfort zones.

I applaud the original motivation behind this trend. However, I disagree with it for three reasons:

First, it is true that aging causes many people to become more fearful and to contract their lives to a tiny, manageable realm of home and neighborhood. But it is equally common for people to find the aging process liberating; they no longer care what other people think and are willing to try things to please themselves, rather than others. And it seems that many older women, particularly those who still lead active careers, fall into this latter category. Every day, I interact with competent, bold, older women who fearlessly take on new challenges.

Second, "say yes to everything" ...