How to Turn a “No” Into a “Yes”!


If you have kids of your own or if you are ever around kids, its safe to assume that you have heard them asking or truly begging for something that they really wanted.

It seems kids always want something and they are on a relentless pursuit to get it. To them the answer “No” is not a final line, its just a brick in the road that they easily bypass. To them “No”, is a cue that means that they should rephrase the question.

When observing children one realizes that this drive, this desire to get, go, take, learn… lived in most all of us when we were kids and has faded significantly as we become adults. Maybe, just maybe, if we become as resilient and persistent as children, we will see that we too will get our way.

Kids are considered to be present-focused, meaning that whatever is in front of them is the most important. With their natural enthusiasm they work towards one goal at a time. They keep their eyes on the prize. They don’t remember past failures, and future uncertainties do not scare them. Like racehorses with blinders they try to stay clear of distractions and rush towards that finish line to hear “Yes”.

If one person denies them of their goal, they go and seek a second opinion from another. Similar to the saying “If you knock on enough doors, one of them will open.” They know that if they ask enough people their chances of success are far greater then asking only one. That is why kids try to shop around until they get the answer they are pleased with, or one of the adults will give up their stand and give in. With age, kids get better and better at getting their way. They become more and more resilient to the word “No”, and their desire to push the envelope grows exponentially.

Perhaps practice does make perfect and that is how they get so good at getting their way.

For example… The following is a conversation with my son.

Mom, can I have a lollipop?

No, Benjamin

Mom, just a little bit?

No, Benjamin

Mom, If I will be good… can I have a lollipop?

We will see, first you must behave.

Mom, I behaved good all day today. Can I have a lollipop when we come home?

No, Benjamin

Mom, Can I have the lollipop just for 2 minutes? I won’t have all of it.

And so on this conversation went on…

I try to be very consistent with my “No’s”. However, judging from this little chat its probably safe to say that at one point or another I have been guilty of giving in. Time and time again as adults we hear “No” and we get discouraged, forgetting that strategically maneuvering around the “No’s”, will potentially lead to a “Yes”. At some point in our life’s most all of us have swayed a “No” into a “Yes” – that magic moment that should serve as our precedence into achieving and striving like children.

I used the simple conversation above with my son to exemplify the perseverance and the drive that is astonishing in children. They just keep going, they don’t seem to get disheartened, and they seem to be very flexible in terms of how they will get to their final destination. Children have so many qualities that are essential for success, and that seem to fade with age. They are fearless and determined in whatever they try to achieve and overflow with drive, motivation, desire, perseverance. We should all learn from them.

Perhaps we should not look at kids and see them as naggers and whiners. Instead, we should see them as motivational figures that are in constant pursuit of achieving goals and not treat the word “No” so seriously. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to feel discouraged or empowered.

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