Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

Do you feel that the world is becoming more negative? If so, you’re right.

Research conducted by Gallup shows that the world’s population is slowly moving toward a more negative, sad and stressed state of mind. We can’t control how everyone else feels, but we can control how we feel by choices we make and what we say 'yes' or 'no' to in our life. A result or consequence happens from every choice, every yes and every no.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Technically, it is simple, but in life, it’s not always easy to discern whether we should be saying yes or no. We’ll share a situation we faced that involved using yes and no and the consequences from those choices.

Like many people, we have a soft spot in our hearts for pets. Several years ago, we had a dog that we loved a lot. When you have pets, they become part of the family. As he aged, we did everything we could for him, including having eye surgery. The vet called him “Immortal” but sadly, one day the vet told us he was beyond help. We held him until his spirit was gone to doggy heaven. We vowed that we would never have another dog. That was a strong no! Our hearts had been broken enough!

However, as you realize if you’ve had pets, you miss them and over time, the no becomes a yes. And we got our Tootsie, who ended up to be another wonderful furry family member. What this story shows is that risking to change from no to yes helped us to go on to have many wonderful memories that we would have missed. Having felt loss or rejection in human relationships can also make people hesitant to say yes again to a new relationship.

So part of the way to have control of your life and change your mindset is to know when to say yes and when to say no. Let’s look at some times when saying no is best and when saying yes is best.

When to say no! Les Brown says, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” If you are living in a situation that you think is not good for your physical or emotional health, saying no is the way to go! If you feel pulled down, instead of lifted up, you may have the fear you can never reach your dreams. You may have learned that you have no choice.

If you’ve ever watched an elephant at a circus, when he was not performing, maybe you noticed that he had a little chain around his leg that was attached to a small stake in the ground. You might have wondered why the elephant, who could lift tons, didn’t pull that stake up and walk away. It’s because when the elephant was small, he had a heavy chain around his leg. The chain was attached to a large stake that was driven deep into the ground. When the baby elephant tried to pull up the stake and get free, he just couldn’t do it. He would finally give up because he believed it was impossible to get free. In psychology, those beliefs and behaviors are known as “learned helplessness."

It’s easy to feel helpless, but you have choices! Cut the chains that bind you and use your strength to get the support needed to get rid of the negatives in your life. Then you’ll have the freedom to say yes to your dreams.

When to say yes! Eckhart Tolle said, “Say 'yes' to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” This happens because saying yes involves looking for the opportunities that you already have and that you can produce though being creative. Saying yes may mean getting out of your comfort zone and, when you do, support often shows up to help you. Take action and reward yourself for small steps forward. It may seem difficult at first, but moving ahead and risking will help to get you where you want to be.

What about you? Are you struggling with how and when to say yes and no? When you’re unsure, you’ll want to get guidance about your choice. We encourage you to look at how and when you say yes or no and how those choices affect your life. As you decide to not let negative people, bad situations or your own fears stop you, you can create your best life.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at