“No” is Easy When You Know Your “Yes”

Do you have trouble saying “no” to things? Me too. My natural tendency is to feel like I don’t want to disappoint anyone, so when I would say “no” to a request, I would always end up feeling guilty and yet relieved at the same time. This lasted for years.

I remember the first time I really said a firm “no” to helping someone, and felt free because of it: I was in my mid 20s!

As a graduate student, my study load was quite heavy. A fellow student asked if I could read over his paper to edit it and give feedback. Without thinking I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have time for that.” It just popped out of my mouth—I was shocked that I had said no so easily.

Later, I marveled at the freedom I had found in saying “no” – but what I realized was that I could say “no” easily, because I had already said “yes.” Continue Reading

What’s Your Bottom Line in Life?

I’ve written about how organising a closet, or any other space, can be overwhelming unless we establish our priorities. If we know our bottom line – the thing that is most important to us about this project – that one decision eliminates most of the others. The most difficult part is the decision fatigue, and once we get rid of that that, it’s smooth sailing!

Well, what works for the closet works for life.

It is said that the average adult makes something like 30,000 decisions per day. Talk about decision fatigue.

But what if we could eliminate the vast majority of those decisions by establishing our bottom line (or lines) in life? If we knew what was absolutely most important to us, so many of the big or small decisions would be made. Continue Reading

Maximizing Prayer

Have you ever had a difficult decision to make, and found yourself praying, “Lord, you decide. Just tell me, and I’ll do it!”?  I know I have.

In his podcast on “Four helpful rules for discernment,” Fr. Mike Schmitz points out that sometimes (not every time, but sometimes,) we ask God what His Will is, for the simple reason that we don’t want to make the decision.

It might seem really godly of us to do whatever the Father wills – but sometimes it’s an excuse for us not taking responsibility for our own choices. Continue Reading

Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer?

Here’s a fun little quiz. Let’s say you need to buy a blender. You want one that will let you make soup in the winter and margaritas in the summer. What do you do? (If you don’t care about blenders, substitute “computer,” “car,” or any other significant purchase.)

||A|| Go to your nearest appliance store, and choose one that looks good.

||B|| Go to your nearest appliance store, ask the clerk for a recommendation, and buy the one he recommends.

||C|| Search Amazon for “blender for soup and margaritas”, read the 3 best and 3 worst reviews of the top 2 options, and buy the one that seems best.

||D|| Start by googling “blender for soup and margaritas,” and read several personal blogger reviews, before going over to Amazon and reading every single customer review for each blender that made the top blogger ratings, as well as some that didn’t. Check Consumer Reports ratings and compare. Visit five different local shops to talk to clerks about what they might recommend. Show them the highlighted spreadsheets you have made of each blender, its pros and cons, customer ratings, and price variations. Two months later, decide that none of the blenders out there are exactly what you want, and so you will just wait until they make the right one. Continue Reading

The Sign You’ve Been Looking For

(Learn to Discern, Principle #8)

Have you ever prayed for a sign? Maybe you were in the midst of a confusing situation, or discerning different alternatives, or just plain old frustrated and unable to tell what the best path was.

Praying for signs seems to be a pretty common human experience, whether someone considers themselves to be spiritual or not. We all have moments where we want a very clear answer about what to do.

But the problem with signs, I’ve noticed, is that they are difficult to notice!

Sometimes that difficulty is a result of our own over-thinking; sometimes it’s the result of our own blindness; and sometimes that difficulty is actually the sign we have been looking for all along. Continue Reading