I was talking to my good friend Phil today and telling him how I was planning to take all of November off if I could turnover enough in October. For some reason he thought this was a crazy idea and started telling me I couldn't do it - but then later admitted that he didn't really care and said "someone needs to say no to you sometimes" ... which got me thinking.

No: Such Thing As No

When it comes to doing something I want to do, the word "no" quite literally isn't in my vocabulary. There's "yes, now" and there's "yes, later" but never "no".

In some (I think most) cases, this is a good thing. When it comes to business for example, if I want it I go and get it, and I don't stop working until I do. In other scenarios it can pose a bit of a problem, as my long-suffering girlfriend, high school teachers, and parents will happily tell you.

The only time "no" does enter my day-to-day vocabulary is when I'm asked to do something that I don't want to do, usually because I am instead doing something that I do want to do.

For some reason "F#$& off, I'm busy learning HTML" doesn't go down well in response to "John, tell me how to conjugate the word 'ecouter' (to listen) in French".

No: I Won't Change

When I was growing up people constantly tried to drill this "attitude problem" out of me. Teachers, school "guidance" counselors, headmasters, family, and all the rest. It didn't help one little bit of course, there has never been anything that has annoyed me more than being told what is and isn't possible. This is to the extent that the most memorable quote from my teenage years of defiance is actually from an Adidas advertising campaign. I had it pinned to my bedroom wall for many years, and it still speaks to me a great deal. It goes as follows...

Impossible  Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.   Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare.  Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.  Impossible is nothing.

No: Regrets.

I live to make my own mistakes, and learn from them. Don't tell me a certain food tastes bad, I'll taste it for myself thanks. Don't try to stop me from burning my hand on the stove, I won't learn if I don't do it.

I don't want to be eighty years old, sitting in my rocking chair, thinking to myself "I wonder what would have happened if..."

I have lots of tattoos because I love them, and some people ask me "but what about about when you're 80 and your skin is all wrinkly?" - To which my response is usually "what about when you're 80 and you figure out that you never bothered to live your life?".

I want to try everything, take every opportunity, and fail as often as I can. Why? Because then I can say that I did it, and I know it. To me, there's no point in going through life any other way. There are far too many people in the world being told what they "should" be doing instead of doing what they want to be doing.

As I get older and experience new things, I find myself living by a new a quote that's becoming increasingly dear to me.


No: Is Still Something I Won't Listen To.

I'm stubborn, probably more stubborn than anyone else I know (except maybe my dad, he's pretty stubborn too). But being stubborn is defined as "tenacious unwillingness to yield" - and tenacity is defined as "persistent determination". So I'll take my stubbornness. I'm ok with that.

Tell me it'll be difficult, tell me it'll take a long time, tell me that I'll regret it, but don't tell me I can't do it. Cause I can.

Photo by erix