How did I learn to say ‘no’ recently?

Since the last couple of years, I have divided my life into three parts: the first is the time that I like to spend for me, just for me, only for me what I like to do, I don’t want to compromise on it.
Others might say I’m selfish because I don’t want to give this time to anybody else.
But nothing has touched me more than what my mind, heart, and body whispers me to do.
Selfish is a really complicated and difficult word to use.
This word leaves a negative precursor in our mind and thinking.
My mind and body always whispers simultaneously to me not to use the word ‘selfish’ to anybody else because you don’t know the other person completely.
Many of us use it too often, too quickly, and too lightly, but I don’t want to use it in such a way.
Let others use it in whatever form they want. This is their life, their thinking, and their choice.
But I don’t want to use the word ‘selfish’ for others, at least after using my two cents’ second thought.
If we avoid using the word ‘selfish’, I am sure we improve our non-judgemental curiosity and compassion a lot better.
This is a fast technological world, we all want to be super successful and super perfectionists so that we become superhuman superquick.
But, in reality, all we need in life is a lot less ‘super’ but a lot more ‘human’, this is more likely to happen when we don’t compromise time for our ‘me’ moments.
‘Me’ moment is a microscopic view of our life, it is not a selfish moment.
My picture of ‘me’ moment may look unusual for others but it is very common for me.
And I hope this should be the same for you too.
Here is a simple synopsis of my ‘me’ moment as an illustration.

I want to read Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ even though I am super busy.
I want to write about my first dad experience when my first child was born because something unforgettable happened.
I want to meet with my childhood friend in Seoul, South Korea because I’d spent my past 20 plus years with him together.
My tomorrow’s 5k running time is conflicted with one of my friends’ birthday party, but I want to run.
I want to listen to that specific song by Lata Mangeshwor several times when I am on my patio remembering my deceased grandma.
I want to travel this weekend, Naperville, Illinois to attend the writer’s club conference where I would have the opportunity to meet with Paulo Coelho, one of my all time favourite authors.
I want to meditate for 30 minutes at noon Sunday afternoon outside to elevate my focus level.

I learned that the best of me comes only if I push myself over the edge.
And this is possible only if I know myself better.
And this is possible only if I spend quality time on myself for my ‘me’ moments.

Remember, air hostesses always say put your mask first before helping others.
I hope you got the point.

The second part is for my family where I want to spend my time with my kids and wife.
Nothing is more important than our family. Most of the time, our life revolves around our kids, spouse, parents, and siblings.
I like to stay at home, play with kids, watch movies with them, travel with them, participate in activities that they want to be involved in and make them happy.
I know if I don’t do this now then there would be a list of more regrets on deathbed than my life accomplishments.

The third part is to dedicate time to my professional work.
This is the time for bread and butter.
Remember, this part is no less important than the above two parts by any means.
This is my work for living and that supports me financially and upgrades me every single day by learning something new.
By profession I’m a scientist so I need to be updated on new discoveries, findings, and innovations every single day.
To accomplish my professional goal, I need to work efficiently and smartly, otherwise, the aforementioned two areas of my life would be affected.

The most difficult part in life is to make balance in these three areas.
It doesn’t happen often, it needs a little bit of practice.
There are many reasons why it’s difficult to balance but I’m going to mention one which affected my life the most.
In our life, each of these three areas needs to grow without affecting the other.
But trust me, nobody is perfect and I’m not the exception.
There are a lot of people who are struggling for this balance.
I’m trying to make this balance but my life doesn’t know this balance automatically unless I teach and practice my life how to balance them.

This balance for me became possible only when I knew how to say ‘no’ very politely and gently to the activities which have no meaning in my life.
But the majority of us are very weak to say ‘no’ to, because we don’t want to offend anybody.
This is our human nature.
We have been taught since childhood not to say ‘no’ to others.
We look rude and undisciplined in society’s eyes.
If we don’t offend anybody by saying ‘no’ then we offend ourselves, so this is our conscious choice to whom to offend.
Nowadays if somebody invites me or proposes to me to go somewhere or to do something, and if I don’t want to go or don’t like then I simply say ‘no’, thank you for the invitation’.
I don’t give them any answer for why?
This is difficult but we must practice.
I don’t say and will never say, “oh I’m busy, I don’t have time.”
Remember, there are always 24 hours in a day, same for all, for me, for Elon Musk, for Joe Biden, for Oprah Winfrey, and for my 6th grader daughter.
It’s not true that I don’t have time, I have time but maybe not for that specific task.
I simply said, “little longer ‘noooooo’ with a nice smile, thank youuuu, though.”
This part is really hard if we don’t practice, I’m still working on it.

The most recent type of ‘no’ that I have learnt is no to political news. In past years the amount of time that I spent on political news is insanely high when I look back on my life.
To be honest, I never learnt anything from political news.

I absorbed everything just as entertainment, it didn’t help a single ounce to improve the quality of any area of my life.
Finally, I realized this is a total waste of time.

I found that spending so much time on political news is not helpful at all.
Most of the political news is intentionally motivated to hook, influence, and addict us, and finally make us morally and intellectually bankrupt.
Does it really matter to my life which party leader said what in where?
I don’t think so unless I’m a political leader or I make a living by doing politics.
Of course, there are exceptions.
But exceptions don’t rule our life.
Exceptions are just exceptions.
If we divert the time and attention that we spend on political news to the area of our interest in life that matters the most, we gradually move in the direction of our choice.
I’m not saying as a guru or any motivational speaker.
I belong to none of those catagories.
I make a living by doing science so I know little bit about the science of body and mind, and how they are connected chemically.
Largely, this is from my own personal experience rather than scientific facts.

Political news, I believe, is a two-edged sword.
On one hand, it gives us a world of entertainment from early morning that could be quite addictive and can go till late night; on the other hand, it tends to fill our mind with information which has no value in our lives.
Not very far in the past, I used to be a young person in a hurry because I used to watch a lot of news on CNN and Fox. All of that time was going from my actual ‘me’ time or family time or work time.
I used to think consuming CNN was not a waste of time because I’m learning.
Instead, I used to think that if I sit quietly doing nothing for a few minutes, that was a huge waste of time for me.
But I recently learned that how we look at our time spent also changes with time.
Maturity also teaches us how we are maturing daily, weekly, and yearly.

Now I understand that a pause to look into my own heart or mind for a few minutes daily is never a waste of time.
This is an investment of time in me and in my health.
In my view, this is one of the most rewarding investments we can make in our lives.
Remember, physical exercise does good in our body including health by its repetitiveness, but quietly looking at the mind is eclectic.

Political news is only good for career politicians who make ends meet doing politics or the job is related to it directly or indirectly.
Majority of news is motivated by specific political philosophy or by some hidden political agendas.
Journalists inform us of the twisted news which affects us physically and emotionally.
As far as I have understood, a journalist’s job is not to teach people, nor twist the news.
Their job is to let people know what exactly the news is, as it is, unfiltered.
It’s up to the people to decide the right and wrong and make their own decision.

There should be a clear alignment between what we do and what we think in life.
Our mind produces thoughts but our body produces feelings, they are different.
If we don’t align our thoughts with our feelings then we are doing something wrong.
Without this alignment, we never produce any tangible results in our life.
This indicates that we are doing something which is not sustainable, we are doing it for the sake of doing only.
That’s the exact moment I realized when I was spending my time with political news in front of a television set or on youtube videos.
I was involved and doing one thing by my feelings but my thoughts were completely different and were giving me different directions.
We humans have the power to pause and reflect, this is basically a habit to check alignment of our feelings and thoughts, no other animals have this power.
When thought, the work of the brain aligns with feeling, the work of the body, we are in the state of being.
This state of being is required to break any wrong habits in our lives.
I completely broke my habit of watching too much political news, opinion, and analysis after realizing the state of being in my life.
Though, again, I’m not perfect but moving in that direction slowly.
Knowing this state of being is one of the best tools to go from good to great in our lives.

What controls us is very important and knowing it is extremely powerful.
Sometimes, it’s very difficult to see a fine line between help and control.
Politics itself is a good discipline of life, it helps to carve our footsteps in society, but if we are not aware of its nature, it controls us very quickly.

Remember, If everything is politicized including our body, mind, and daily work then survival becomes our full time job.

We become deprived of our life choices if what we do all day is to fill our mind with political news.

Is survival our full time job?
Possibly, if we feed only junks in our mind.

Nowadays I would rather feed cheerios, milk, and strawberries to my two years boy, play with him, and watch with him than to watch political news.
I have watched ‘the boss baby’ multiple times with my son, I don’t know the exact numbers but surely many times.
This is a computer-animated comedy movie.
My boy especially loves the boss baby character so I’m watching it over and over again to make him happy.

Many dialogues and scenes are vivid in my memory.
These dialogues from the movie I use frequently at home to create a fun and healthy environment around the house.

Some of my favourites from ‘the boss baby’.
The ‘boss baby’ runs the company ‘BabyCorp’.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
“Success is not linear, it’s a wild ride.”
“Aim for failure, then only you get success.”
“No, no Jimbo, puppies are evil, we babies are losing and puppies are winning.”
“Is this my team? A musclehead, a bunch of yes men, and doodlers.”

My personal favorite is,
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Thank you for your time.
-Yam Timsina