Did you know that the average child has heard the word “no” over 20,000 times before they ever turn the age of three? Ironically it is also around this time that children begin to develop enough personal character to willfully rebel. The “terrible twos” are chatergorized by a lack of understand. Yet, somewhere between three and four children begin to acquires the skills to reason. It is during this time they watch how other children and adults reason. If we’re not careful they, the children, will watch us model a world of “NOs”.
Subway has went as far to make a commercial out of it. There subject matter happens to be adolescenes. Which brings me to my next point: By the time a person turns eighteen how many times have they been told no? I haven’t found any studies that even attempted to track this statistic but I’m sure if the number is 20,000 by three then at eighteen that number has multipled. I’m thirty. You do the math.
Yet, I think I know why we say no. We say no to protect. We say no to nurture. We say no to direct. We say no to stop potential confusion. However, do we sometimes say no just for the sake of saying no? Do we say no because we have internalized all of the “nos” we’ve heard over the years and we feel it is finally our time to say no to someone else?
When there is a new project at work that someone needs to take on but nobody wants. Eventually they may ask you to step up and take it on. What will you say? Maybe a holiday is coming up and your team needs someone to step in and work that day? You’ve got a project that is tied to your personal hobbie and you’ve been putting it off for years. Someone who knows of this project may ask you if you intend to finish it before the end of 2010. What will you answer?
The internalized no can cripple the growth process of dreams in infancy as quickly as it can dabilitate a three year old. And we wonder why we run into people with big, un-accomplished dreams who have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. They have to take on the 20,000 NOs. However, the thing that keeps them going is the possibility of the power of ONE YES! It only takes one record label to sign a new artist. It only takes one book to make a writer a Pulitzer Prize Winner. It only takes one act of recognized bravery to win a purple heart. It only takes one word to change the course of your day.
That world is YES!