Turning a No Into a Yes
Sometimes the answer you need is NO.
When I was in elementary school there was a store called “Shoe Strings”, it was the Footlocker of our time. They used to have a big fancy wall of all these different types of shoes. One day, I found this pair of shoes that were beautiful. They were Nike ACGs, and they were sweet. So, I went and asked my dad if I could buy them. He said “sure”, I said “okay cool can I have the money”, he told me “you already have a pair of shoes, I’m not going to buy you another pair of shoes”. He then went into a story about how he saved up when he was growing up in the Middle East to buy a pair of custom-made jeans and he only needed one pair, so I only needed one pair of shoes. He then told me when I had my own money I could buy as many pairs of shoes as I wanted.
This is what you call a moment of truth. I could either wait for these shoes to break down and get my parents to buy me a new pair at that time, or go make some money and get that pair right away.
I chose to get to work. Paper routes, mowing grass, cleaning up snow, selling lemonade, anything that could get me a couple bucks. I had to work in proportion to my aspirations. Before I knew it, I had the money I needed for my shoes and I had a life lesson from my Dad.
The answer I needed that day was no. If he had just given me what I wanted I wouldn’t have had to put in the work to learn how to make money. I wouldn’t have learned the grit it takes to deal with the failures associated with getting the things I wanted. I wouldn’t have given my goals the right amount of effort needed to take myself to where I wanted to go.
I use this phrase with the basketball players on my basketball teams. Practice in proportion to your aspirations. Do you want to just be on the team? Well, I myself am pretty soft and don’t do a good job of cutting people so you can probably be on the team just by being nice to everyone and trying at practice. Do you want to be on the court at the end of key games? You better get to work. Do you want to be our best player? Put in more work. Do you want to be the best player on the best team? Well that’s going to be a LOT of work. The good news where we live is that it’s not life or death, if you want to be average you can be average. Someone will give you a line about being well balanced in life and you will feel good about yourself and everything will be fine.
Unless of course you want more.
If you want something more, you must put in the time. We are not all born with the same talents, some people are smarter, some people can jump higher, some people can run longer and faster. If you are not at the level you want to be in any of these the answer is simple. Put in the time, focus and execute a game plan to take it to the next level. That way you can turn that NO into a YES.
Sometimes to reach the goals you want you need to work way harder than you ever thought you would. Sometimes it’s really hard.
Our society right now tells you it’s okay to be lazy, not put in the time and be okay with losing. If you want something bad enough, like a new pair of ACGs you are going to need put in the time and get it done; or not it’s up to you, but let me tell you that pair was worth the work. It was worth the hustle and it was a valuable lesson that I’ve continued to use. That day back at Shoe Strings, I needed to hear a no so that I could work towards the yes.