Take Pleasure in Saying “NO”

Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich wrote me an email (auto responder of course) that hit home in so many levels. The main take out which took me years to apply and sometime I catch myself breaking the rule, and that is “SAYING NO.”

How did the year started for you? Lots of projects, or a big list of To-Do’s? Well, here is your opportunity to “SAY NO.” Of course is not saying “no” to everything, but basically to things that will take you away from you’re passion, or the work that you want to do. Here is that email which I think you will find very insightful as well.

Hi Vagabond Elmer,

A weird thing happened over the last 8 weeks. I started getting scattered messages from people who couldn’t subscribe to my email list, no matter how many times they tried.

After I got more than 10 emails, I decided it wasn’t PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard), and I had an IWT analyst look into it.

We discovered a minor bug: If someone unsubscribes, then later tries to rejoin, they can’t.

Analyst: “Should we prioritize fixing this?”

If you’re curious how I responded, this email exchange should give you a taste:

Rami Sethi Email Response 1

My response 9 minutes later;

Rami Sethi Email Response 2





Then he wrote;

Rami Sethi Email Response 3

Then I wrote;

Rami Sethi Email Response 4

LOVE IT!! PURE JUSTICE!! You unsubscribed, now you want back in? You can wait outside in the cold and I’ll let you back in when I’m good and ready.

I’m not being punitive (that’s a lie, that’s exactly what I’m doing…and I love it). But I also think there’s a deeper lesson here:

Could I fix this technical issue? Of course. But I told my tech team to prioritize this ABSOLUTELY LAST since these people are not my target market. They already demonstrated that my material isn’t a good fit for them. In other words, I can’t appeal to everyone, so I have to pick my battles.

You can’t please everyone.

Like I told you in Tuesday’s post, I had some interior decorator ask me if I really had any credentials to teach personal finance. Why do I care about defending myself to her? I have bigger fish to fry.

Underlying this is our tendency to be PEOPLE PLEASERS.

I could have launched into some grand old defense of why my material is different than other people, and how many millions of readers have benefited…but why?

People pleasing manifests in subtle ways. For example, how many times have you said, “Sure, I’ll do that…it can’t hurt.” And two weeks later, you have to go to some dumb party/event you committed to, which you actually don’t want to go to, and you hate yourself. It can’t hurt. Actually, it can!! There’s nothing wrong with helping other people, but when you start saying “yes” to things that are distracting and drain you of energy, you can’t make the maximum impact on the world.

The path to unapologetic mastery is FILLED with these day-to-day choices.

For example, I get emails from people saying, “Ramit, what’s the best checking account to use?” I ignore them, because hey dude who claims he’s been reading me for 3 years, if you can’t pick up my $10 book where I literally list the best accounts, why would I reply to you? Then 2 weeks later I get an angry email cursing me out and saying, “It would only take you 3 seconds to reply.” Yes, it would. Times 600 email requests/day. Times my mental anguish of responding to people who make me want to shiv my eye with a chopstick.

Too many choices = puke

The question to ask is, who have you consciously decided you WON’T dignify with your limited attention?

We started off the year talking about Unapologetic Mastery. That sounds like a good tagline…but when it comes down to making the day-to-day choices to get there, it’s easy to get crippled by TOO MANY CHOICES.

But if you want big change, you have to tackle a small number of BIG WINS.

Yesterday, I got a TON of emails from people who said, “I really want to start this business, but I have a lot of student debt and my job doesn’t pay me enough at all.” The answer is, get a better job, get financially stable, THEN tackle the business idea!

You can’t change the world if you’re worried about your bills every month.

When you’re financially stable and growing, you can do nice things for others (and for yourself). In other words, once you have a Big Win — like becoming financially stable — you can let that success “bleed” into other areas of life.

For example. once you’re earning more, you can buy back your time — like I do with a chef and someone who cleans my apartment — or even buy results, like with a personal trainer.

To live a rich life this year, we’re not going to tackle everything. We’re going to tackle ONE BIG WIN at a time.

Learning how to crochet, or visiting another country, can be on your to-do list — but just like I de-prioritized that weirdo’s request above, you also have to say NO to doing everything at once. This year, mastery starts with doing one thing, and doing it extraordinarily well.

So I’m going to make it easy for you:

This year, what would make more of an impact: mastering closet organization…or finding a new job that makes you excited to wake up every day?

I want you to really dig deep about what goals are going to get your BIG WIN this year. A good framework is, “If I succeeded at this ONE thing, would my success ‘bleed’ into other areas?”

GOOD EXAMPLE: “If I lost 15lbs and was able to fit into my high-school jeans, I’d feel more attractive and have more energy to spend on time with my significant other.”

BAD EXAMPLE: “I want to learn to speak Spanish because…well it would be cool.”

Don’t be that guy setting goals that sound good, but are doomed for failure. (Btw, I was guilty of that as recently as last year. My misery is your salvation.)

Another good framework is to look ahead to December 31, 2014. If you could be sitting on a beach (that’s right, you earned enough to fly there with a SO, and if you don’t have one, just tell me and I’ll send someone attractive to hang with you), looking back, what would be your 1 BIG WIN?

That’s what we’re going to pursue.

The most common responses I hear are:

  • Earn more money

  • Get a better job (higher-paying, more challenging, different industry)

  • Get more time

  • Overcome mental barriers and become more confident

  • Get eyebrows like Ramit (impossible, you’re not even close to my level)


Rami Sethi Saying No

PICK ONE THING YOU WANT THIS YEAR. I’ll send you a series of specific material to go way deeper, including detailed tactics you can apply today:

  • “I want to earn more money this year”

  • “I want to find my Dream Job this year”

  • “I want to save an hour a day”

  • “I want to break through my mental barriers and boost my confidence”

Btw, I take these special mini-courses down on Saturday, so procrastinating would be unwise. Click your Big Win.


P.S. I follow a bunch of fitness people and at the beginning of the year, when they posted “30-day challenges,” they were getting hundreds of comments per post. Now, just 9 days later, the number of comments has dropped to a trickle. Most people can’t even follow through for 9 days. If that’s you, unsubscribe from this list by clicking the link below.

But if you want to make unapologetic mastery a WINNABLE RESULT, not just a tagline, click here to pick your Big Win and I’ll send you material that will challenge, confound, and enlighten you.

I couldn’t put it better myself. This is your year! Take account for what matters to you the most, and if you are not sure yet. Let me send you “How to create your own Vagabond Lifestyles Blueprint” and identify those areas that are important to you. Just click on the link above or “subscribe below.”


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