There’s a pretty good chance you’re not the same person you were six months ago but you’re still living the same life you were two years ago. We expect ourselves to change but we’re terrified of changing our lifestyles in any way to match our growth. It’s time to stop saying ‘yes’ to the life you’ve outgrown and raise your standards of living.
Most people reach a point in their lives when they realise they’re not the same person they were five years ago, a year ago or six months ago, yet they continue living a life which they’ve grown out of.
They hang out with friends who now no longer match their levels of maturity; they’re in a relationship which no longer reflects the dynamic and partnership they want at this stage of their life; they’re in a career which is no longer challenging or personally fulfilling or they realised they’ve eaten the same food at the same restaurant for the past three years.
People will naturally outgrow their lifestyles whether it’s in their interests, their relationship dynamics or their ambitions and motives, yet the idea of change feels wrong and incongruent to most.
Comfort in Mediocrity
People cling onto the lifestyles and relationships they have outgrown because they’re controlled by comfort and the sunk-cost fallacy; they’re unable to let go of the things which no longer fulfil them because they put so much importance on the time and effort they’ve already invested in these things and it’s more comforting to keep things as they are.
Why give up on a four-year relationship now, even if you’re not happy in it, throw away all those years and have nothing to show for it?
Why start a new career when you’ve spent the last ten years of your life working your way up the ladder to get the role you’re in now?
Won’t it all have been a waste of life just to walk away from everything?
When we talk about the concept of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’, most people think of this in terms of communication. They claim that they find it difficult to say no to their boss, a social invitation or to a salesperson who is just doing their job but pushing a product on them that they’re not interested in.
“Your capacity to say “No” determines your capacity to say “Yes” to greater things.”– E. Stanley Jones
However, we are constantly engaging in the art of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ even when we say nothing at all. Every choice that you make in life is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. Every time you say ‘yes’ to living a lifestyle which isn’t fulfilling you, you’re saying ‘no’ to taking a risk and finding a more fulfilling way of living. Every time you say ‘yes’ to meeting up for a coffee with that friend who emotionally drains you and pulls you down, you’re saying ‘no’ to moving on and making more impactful and meaningful friendships with other people. Every time you say ‘yes’ to your boss when you don’t want to or can’t do the job to the best standard, you’re saying ‘no’ to living more authentically and honestly.
In other words, every day you continue living a life you’re bored of, you are saying ‘no’ to living a more significant, authentic and meaningful life.
Saying yes and no isn’t just about being able to turn down a sales assistant without feeling rude and awkward or avoiding your friend’s feelings when you choose not to go to their birthday party; it’s about learning to stand up for the life you want to live and investing the time you have on this earth into the areas of life which add value to our lives.
You need to stop feeling comfortable in mediocrity and start challenging yourself to value who you are and the time you have to give. Give yourself and your time wisely and stop allowing yourself to say ‘yes’ to a passive life which passes you by faster and faster every year.