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The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yesby William Ury
Synopses & Reviews
Uncover Your Yes
In creating, the only hard thing's to begin; a grass-blade's no easier to make than an oak. -James Russell Lowell
Perhaps the single biggest mistake we make when we say No is to start from No. We derive our No from what we are against-the other's demand or behavior. A Positive No calls on us to do the exact opposite and base our No on what we are for, Instead of starting from No, start from Yes. Root your No in a deeper Yes-a Yes to your core interests and to what truly matters.
Nowhere did I learn this more clearly than from a relative of mine who suffered from a serious addiction to alcohol that nearly cost him and others their lives in a car accident. He tried many times to give up the habit but always failed. Then at the age of sixty, just when all hope seemed lost, he found in him- self the will to say No and stop drinking. The secret? When my first grandchild was born, he says, I wanted more than anything to live long enough to see him grow up. It was his birth that motivated me to get treatment and stop drinking. Since then, for over fifteen years now, I have not touched a drop. His Yes to being present for his grandchildren-to be able to play with them and see them grow-motivated his powerful No to alcohol.
His story serves to illustrate an everyday paradoxical truth: the power of your No comes directly from the power of your Yes.
Your Yes is the underlying purpose for which you are saying No. The first step in the method is to uncover the Yes that lies behind your No. The deeper you go into your core motivation, the more powerful your Yes will be and thus the more powerful your No.
From Reactiveto Proactive
The biggest obstacle to saying No successfully is not the other, however difficult they might be. It is ourselves. It is our all-too-human tendency to react-to act with intense emotion but without clear purpose. We humans are reaction machines. And our Nos tend to be reactive. We accommodate out of fear and guilt. We attack out of anger. We avoid out of fear. To get ourselves out of this three-A trap, we need to become proactive, forward-looking, and purposeful.
This challenge is vividly captured in an old Japanese story about a samurai and a fisherman. One day, the samurai went to collect a debt from the fisherman. I'm sorry, the fisherman said, but this last year has been a very bad one for me, and I regret to say I do not have the money to repay you. Quick to anger, the samurai drew his sword and prepared to kill the fisherman on the spot. Thinking fast, the fisherman boldly said, I have been studying martial arts and my master teaches that you should never strike out of anger.
The samurai looked at him for a minute, then slowly lowered his sword. Your master is wise, he said quietly. My master used to teach the same lesson. Sometimes my anger gets the better of me. I will give you one more year to repay your debt, but if you fail by even a penny, I will surely kill you.
The samurai returned to his house, arriving late at night. He crept in quietly, not wishing to wake his wife, but to his shock, he found two people in the bed, his wife and a stranger dre
The co-author of the best-selling Getting to Yes explains how to use the word "No" effectively and in a positive way to defend one's personal interests in personal and professional situations while preserving one's relationships with others, introducing a series of essential life skills designed to help readers assert themselves without destructive repercussions. 170,000 first printing.
A world-renowned negotiator, mediator, and bestselling author, William Ury directs the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University. Over the last thirty years he has helped millions of people, hundreds of organizations, and numerous countries at war reach satisfying agreements.
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