No! Explored – Don’t get caught by surprise

Regardless of who we are or what our project is, we will get “no!” as an answer more often than “yes!”.

Right now, sit back and consider how many nos you are likely to face about your work. Be honest and be in reality. Twenty? Fifty? More? Now double that number. Got 20? You got 40. Got a 100? Now you got 200 nos. Write this number down and put it somewhere where you will see it next month, next year, and beyond.

Next, go for a walk and repeat the total nos you calculated silently and without fanfare (don’t disturb the neighbors, kids, or small dogs). Remember, no fanfare. You are not trying to drive yourself to depression. Just say the nos as a word, nothing more.

Think of “no” as part of everyday reality, since it is. “No” is waiting for you in your future.

“No” is not a crime, not an arrow aimed only at you, nor is it the definitive statement on your earthly worth, or the last straw. It is a common reaction that most people give to new ideas. It is a word that all creative people face. It is reality.

Take your “No! walk” and make friends and peace with the reality of no. Know in your head, heart, and bones what you will face “No!”. No more surprised reaction when you offer up your idea/project to someone and they say “no.” Surprises are bad. They knock us way off our path, stun us into dumbness, and lead us downward.

How to Be a Good Judo Student

The student of judo expects to hit the mat. Not only again but again and again. In fact, early judo instruction is around how to fall. It covers how to fall to minimize damage and how to fall so you can get back up. Judo students are there to fall and are there to get back up again. Crash!, a student just hit the mat. Falling may not be something the student desired but it doesn’t come as a shock.

How to Be a Good Student of “No!”

Answer these questions by doing the work:

Since you know you are going to get tossed many, many times with “nos”, how can you prepare yourself to soften the blow of hitting the mat?

How can you prepare to get up quickly?

How can you  prepare yourself to almost ignore the falls and fully embrace the getting up?

Note: This is part one of a new series on the nature, art, and science of: No!


3 thoughts on “No! Explored – Don’t get caught by surprise

  1. I always hate No, but especially concerning my art. No usually makes me feel angry and hurt when I get refused. However, I’m getting used to it now No maybe because I let it fall back on the Nay sayers instead of figuring out how to get even with or revenge on them. I am just beginning as a babe in the woods, doing my thing whatever the outcome.



  2. I put my “No!”s in a folder right next the the “Yes”s. They keep me from getting the “big head” my cousin warns me of every time I tell him of a success, although I “know” my self well enough to “know” that a swelled-head is highly unlikely.
    In the art-judging game we are taught that “it is only one judge’s opinion” – so you can’t get a swelled head over a yes and you can’t get depressed over a “no” because ultimately neither is supposed to matter. Still, I feel good when a painting is accepted and feel disappointed when it is rejected. Neutralizing the judge – it’s art’s “in medias res” – to keep us from flying into the sun or crashing into the ocean.


  3. I always think I’ve accepted rejection until I realize that after one or two I usually find excuses not to write for several weeks. Maybe part of the process is designating a bit of mourning and analysis time for each rejection so that the upset and worry don’t back up and derail me for longer periods of time. I liked this blog post.


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