Saying NO is courageous.

Yesterday at the IBM MassChallenge lunch I asked, “We in the startup community tend to talk a lot about how to get YES from investors, but getting a NO is equally important.” and as Rich Maloy well-said, the second most important thing you can hear from an investor is a NO.

The consensus is that investors are afraid to say NO because they want to keep the doors open, and they don’t want to ruin the opportunity to work with you later. But analyzing more, I figured, this is not just investors, but through our educational systems, we are programmed to appreciate yes, say yes, YES MAN, because it’s perceived that saying yes is hard, but in fact saying no is equally courageous. In fact, being decisive should be rewarded. We are increasingly indecisive beings, waiting for others to make decisions for us.

A few weeks ago, I said NO to an investor for the first time. Even though I consider myself a “fast decisive”, it took me a follow-up from the gentleman to say NO to him, as I wanted to keep the doors open. Today, I’ll make my decision faster, and say NO more often.

Saying NO is equally courageous. It will make society progress faster. It makes your company grow more robust and makes your personal life flourish.






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