The Power of ‘No’: Making Room for What Truly Matters


Hey friends,

This week I found a physical copy of Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers on my mum’s bookshelf – I must’ve put a copy there when I ordered like 10 of them from Derek’s website a few years ago. I found myself revisiting some of the lessons in there.

One of the key ones is the title: “Hell Yeah or No” – the idea that beyond a certain point in your life or career, you’ll have so many things competing for your time and attention that you might want to set a rule for yourself: “If it’s not a hell yes then it’s a no thank you”.

This got me thinking about one of my favourite journaling prompts:“What do I need to say no to, so that I have space for what I really want to say yes to?”

I ask myself this question fairly regularly, as a way to declutter my calendar and my life from the stuff that seemed sort-of exciting initially, but is no longer serving me and my goals. A few months ago, asking myself the question led me to deciding to “de-optimise” my podcast – even though it made a lot of sense to continue with it, it was no longer a “hell yeah” (at least in its current format) and so I decided to say “no thank you” to certain aspects of it.

More recently, asking myself the question prompted me to say “no thank you” to a bunch of book-themed promotional activities I was being invited to – more podcasts, media interviews, written pieces in publications etc. They were all pretty cool, but continuing to do more and more and more book promo at this point wasn’t a “hell yeah” anymore, and was taking up a decent chunk of time (and even more head space).

Earlier today, when I was hosting my weekly review workshop (that around 250 people joined – thank you if you were one of them), I threw the question in as a “bonus round”: What do you need to say no to, so that you have space for what you really want to say yes to?” The crowd loved it – there were lots of comments in the chat to the effect of: “Ooh I love this question!”

So that’s what I’ll leave you with this week: What do you need to say no to, so that you have space for what you really want to say yes to?

Have a great week!

Ali xx

❤️ My Favourite Things this Week

  1. Video Game – After a hiatus of 3 months (thanks to all the book promo craziness) I decided to revisit Baldur’s Gate 3 on my Mac. Clocked in another 12 hours over the weekend, taking my total playtime up to around 24 hours (still on Act 1, playing Tactician difficulty with a Paladin as my main). Absolutely incredible game – would recommend 100%.
  2. Audiobooks – In preparation for the December 2024 release of the 5th book in the Stormlight Archive series, I’ve been re-listening to various bits from books 1-3 (The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance and Oathbringer), along with watching a distressingly large number of YouTube videos breaking down the lore in the books, and theorising about what’s going to happen in Book 5. I haven’t been this excited about the release of a book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And moments like this (where it seems like an entire fandom is waiting with baited breath for the same event) happen so rarely in life, that it’s nice to go all-in giganerd as they’re happening 🙂 If you haven’t gotten into Sanderson’s work, there’s still time… if you read (or listen) very quickly, you can follow this reading order (start with The Final Empire) and be ready by December to read book 5 along with me and a tonne of other readers around the world!
  3. Audiobook – Another audiobook I’ve found myself really enjoying is Please Find Attached by Laura Mucha. It’s a deeper look into the Attachment Theory of relationships, and explains the concepts of attachment through the stories of 7 different people. Super interesting so far.
  4. YouTube Video – I absolutely loved (and watched the entire 30 minutes) of my friend Matt D’Avella’s “I Tried Powerlifting for 100 Days” video. Incredible storytelling, great visuals, and a really compelling narrative. Watching Matt’s videos really makes me want to level-up my own video-making abilities.

🎬 My New Videos

🪽 7 Life Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner – In this video, I wanted to share 7 lessons that have been on my mind recently. Enjoy x

✍️ Quote of the Week

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

From Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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