Warren Buffett has captured our imagination with business wisdom that defies conventional thinking. One infamous Buffett-ism has garnered a lot of debate since he first said it years ago. It's a quote about the difference between successful people and really successful people. Here's what Buffett said, verbatim:
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.
Good advice, but if you're like most busy people suffering from FOMO (which is most of us, since that's the age we live in), you don't want to turn down an opportunity that may become your meal ticket for years to come. Remember that time you said no to something and later regretted the decision?
The downside of saying yes too much
Well, that's where the Buffett quote can help us as leaders and business owners keep our sanity. Because if we let our egos and insecurities dictate our actions and we keep saying yes instead of no, it's not a sustainable business or life practice. We will inevitably crash and burn.
So often we spread ourselves thin by saying yes constantly, and we end up taking on more commitments than we can handle. If you've been there, you know the outcome: increased stress and lower quality, whether it's of work, life, or just decisions in general.
As you approach the midpoint of 2022, it's a good time to step back and rethink your priorities for the rest of the year. If you're still saying yes to everything that comes your way, you'll be amazed at what can happen when you finally start to say no.
Steve Jobs preached saying no
Speaking of really successful people, the late Steve Jobs clearly separated himself from everyone else with his own relatable quote. Here's what he said at an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 1997:
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.
Always remember that devoting attention and focus to something, whether it's an investment opportunity, a new product launch, or a new hobby, means taking time away from something else. For the second half of 2022, forgo all those so-called "opportunities" with potential in order to focus on the ones that are the most important. So wise up and pick carefully.
In the end, simplifying your life means knowing what to say no to -- especially saying no to 1,000 different shiny and sexy opportunities that may tempt you but, in reality, don't really serve you, your purpose, or your mission.