Learning to uncommit

I recently reread the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown. It talks about eliminating everything that isn’t important for you. That doesn’t just mean saying no to bad offers but also saying no to good opportunities so that you can focus on a few things that really matter. One great advice from the book is be slow to say yes but be quick to say no. Sadly, I’m still not good at saying no, so I’m currently following the second part of that advice: uncommit.

To uncommit–that seemed like an alien concept to this goody two shoes, high-strung achiever. I was even slightly shocked when I read these words: “If you’ve already made a casual commitment you’re regretting, find a nice way to worm your way out. Simply apologize and tell the person that when you made the commitment you didn’t fully realize what it would entail”. Can you believe that I’ve never backed out of like job stuff and other official things? Then, I realized that’s crazy. People change their minds, and I can too. I guess I’m just so scared of people getting angry or them being like “But you already said yes!”.

Since last year though, which was the year I reread the book, I’ve backed out of so many things. Each time feels like a thorn being plucked out of my chest. So far, no one has reacted angrily, and I am so relieved. They understand. Can you believe it? I do have my reasons for backing out, good reasons at that, and maybe that’s why they understand. I still hope though that I’ll just learn to say no so I don’t have to back out of good opportunities that just aren’t for me.

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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations. 

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