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Don't be afraid to say 'no' – LimaOhio.com

By Terry Pluto – cleveland.com
Terry Pluto

Carole King and James Taylor perform in Cleveland. Once upon a time, Taylor had lots of hair. Not any more.
John Soeder/Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A few decades ago, I interviewed Hall of Fame Basketball coach Bob Knight after he spoke at the Roy Bates Scholarship Banquet in Wooster.
We talked about a lot of things, but the one I remember is this: “It’s always easier to go from a ‘No’ to a ‘Yes’ than a ‘Yes’ to a ‘No.’”
Knight said people often wondered why he was quick to say “no.” That was his reason. He also “hated phonies” who agreed to do things, then turned them down later. In his usual fashion, Knight verbally underlined the point with adjectives that would peel the paint off the wall.
He believed many times people knew they’d back out – but they just didn’t want to say it to your face.
It’s much like when Jesus said, “Make your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Matthew 5:37).
My point: Underpromise and overdeliver. Too many people do the opposite.
I asked for input from readers on my Facebook page about advice.
The biggest challenges
Thomas Graner wrote: “I spent 20 years in the USAF (Air Force) and 15 more years as a DoD (Department of Defense) contractor. I wish someone had told me how to cope with my wife having Stage 4 lung cancer and my Dad being in a nursing home in Barberton.”
The most demanding challenges are usually personal rather than work-related. I often find it’s easier to understand things on the job than people in various parts of life.
As Thomas wrote, how do you cope with a wife having cancer and a father in a nursing home at the same time?
I’ve been through a lot of elder-care situations. One thing I learned is your life has changed. You can’t do everything you used to do, and also be a caretaker. Often, we are afraid to ask for help – and discouraged when we are turned down.
Sometimes there are no good choices: You are trying to pick the best out of some bad ones.
What I wished they had told me
Michael Dorr wrote: “Dress for success. In certain circumstances, it helps to keep that professional distance.”
As a young adult, I wanted to have long hair – sort of like James Taylor on the cover of the Sweet Baby James album for many moons ago.
Most males in my family are bald going back a few generations. I never noticed it until one day in 1979 when then-Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Stone mentioned, “The crop is getting pretty thin back there.”
He meant my expanding bald spot. I would have been smart to accept it, cut my hair and sort of look like I do now. Instead, I kept trying to grow the hair long on the sides…and kept getting balder on top. I looked ridiculous, as I realize when seeing a picture from the old days. The late Les Levine often kidded me about that.
I finally cut my hair when I turned 40. Former PD writer Hal Lebovitz looked at me and said, “I’m so glad you did that…you should have done it earlier, it would have helped you on the job.”
I said: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
He just shrugged, but that body language said, “You probably wouldn’t have listened.”
He probably was right.
PS: James Taylor is now bald, too.
It really isn’t about you
David Yoder wrote: “People don’t spend as much time thinking about you as you do. You’re not that important … the point is I should let go of worrying about what others thought of me and work on what God had for me that day.”
Keith Griffin wrote: “You are not the center of the universe. When people disagree with you, be quiet, be patient, listen, watch and reflect.”
What do most of us think about? Us. Most of us don’t have a lot of time to think about much else than things and people directly impacting our lives at the moment.
The truth is we aren’t important enough to most other people for them to spend that much time thinking about us. They don’t have time.
Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
Prayer does matter
Jen Freebourn Confer wrote: “During my high school years, I wish someone had instructed me to spend time in prayer about what God would have me do with my life.”
Cindy Flohr wrote: “I wish I’d understood the importance of prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom in making big decisions.”
I know the feeling. It wasn’t until I realized that prayer was a conversation with God that I began to hear from God. I do believe formal prayers and reading the Bible (especially psalms and proverbs) can bring us mentally to the right spot to connect with the God.
We all have conversations in our heads. I direct them toward God, such as, “Now what should I say to that person as I go into this meeting?” and then wait. Answers do come.
Some other thoughts
Mary Tulenko wrote: “My mom-in-law told me that there will be days that I will not like my husband. You’ll love him, but you may not like him and that’s OK.”
This reminded me of what Ruth Graham once said about her husband Billy Graham: “Did I ever think of divorcing Billy? No. Murder yes, divorce no.”
Jonathan Hoffman wrote: “It was only when I accepted that I could say ‘no’ to some people that things changed for the better.”
Sometimes saying “no” to something is actually saying “yes” to something better.
Jim Lukas wrote: “Singles and doubles can still get you to the Hall of Fame. This piece of advice pertains not only to sports but all of life…Many times, people want a ‘home run’ and try all-or-nothing approaches…small steps, singles & doubles, can make all the difference.”
This was a lesson it took me years to learn.
Carolyn Berry wrote: “A saying from my grandma: ‘Sorrow shared is sorrow halved. Joy shared is joy doubled.’ “
This reminds me of Romans 12:15: “Weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn.”
Mike Sims wrote: “My dad said, ‘Life is good; enjoy it.’”
Mike’s dad was a wise man.
By Terry Pluto
cleveland.com
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