know no

2020-02-09

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~2 min read

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234 words

There’s a lot I want to do. It feels like there’s always something I should or could be doing.

When I feel like this, it’s helpful to remember the role of prioritization.

Jason Fried, a co-founder of Basecamp, wrote a short piece entitled “Know No” which I found recently. It struck a chord.

No is easier to do, yes is easier to say.

Yes is no to a thousand things.

No is a precision instrument, a surgeon’s scalpel, a laser beam focused on one point. Yes is a blunt object, a club, a fisherman’s net that catches everything indiscriminately.

No is specific. yes is general.

When you say no to one thing, it’s a choice that breeds choices. Tomorrow you can be as open to new opportunities as you were today.

When you say yes to one thing, you’ve spent that choice. The door is shut on a whole host of alternative possibilities and tomorrow is much more limited.

When you say no now, you can come back and say yes later. If you say yes now, it’s harder to say no later.

No is calm but hard. Yes is easy but a flurry.

Knowing what you’ll say no to is better than knowing what you’ll say yes to.

Know no. — Jason Fried


Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!