How To Say NO To Abusers At Work

Summary – How to say NO to abusers

Very recently I have received an email asking a very interesting question. First of all, I would like to thank the sender, Pankaj, who had taken the time and sent me the email. It is always a pleasure getting to know my reader.

The following is the email Pankaj sent me. “I want to know how exactly to say NO to people. My work is almost always overloaded, but even so, when other people come to me asking for help with his work, I can never say no. I always try to help others but in this way I am always taken negative.

Well Pankaj, this is what you should do.

1) Identify why exactly that you cannot say NO

To tell you the truth, this is the most difficult steps of all but it is also the most important. Let me list a few reasons why a person cannot say NO.

  • He is a very polite person
  • He dislikes confrontation
  • He tries his very best to meet people expectation
  • He is afraid that people may not like him

Believe me there are hundreds more reason why some people cannot say NO. These four are in my opinion, the most popular reasons. Identify the reason why you cannot say NO. Close your eyes and go deep into your heart to find this out. Once you have identified the reason, everything else will be easy.

For example, let say that you dislike confrontation. You prefer to work harmoniously with everyone even to the extent that you have to do other’s work. Then you can draw your own plan on how to slowly learn the art of confrontation.

If you want to shoot an apple with an arrow, you must first know the direction to shoot. If not there are infinite numbers of direction to shoot and thus infinite numbers of failure.

2) Practice with smaller things

Still using the previous example, let say that you know that you cannot say NO because you dislike confrontation. You must then draft your own plan to be more comfortable with confrontation. Draft a small program like disagreeing with your friends about a trivia topic. An example is like why you hate the Harry Potter when everyone else adore him. That should keep the ball rolling.

Keep in mind that you are training yourself to disagree with people. The more trivia the issue the better you will be able to develop the confident to disagree. Do not start with a heavy issue like religion etc.

3) Not Important Tray

Buy a document tray and label it as “NOT Important”. Remember to capitalize the word “NOT”. Anytime a person ask you to do a job, and you still cannot say NO, just ask the person to put the work inside that tray. Make sure the person see the label and tell him that you will only help with his work once all your work is done. Even then you may not be able to help. Leave it to him to decide whether he still want your help or not.

4) Give yourself 10% allowance

If you have 60 minutes of work, always give yourself a mandatory rest of 6 minutes. That 6 minutes must not be spent in doing your work or others’. You must spend that 6 minutes to do your favorite things like replying emails to friends, chatting etc.

When you give yourself this allowance, you will subconsciously teach yourself the value of your free time. Exactly the opposite of what a lot of people believe, having allocated free time in the midst of your never-ending work will really help you appreciate the time. After a while, you will find it easier to just say NO to people since you have earned that free time with blood and sweat.

5) Create red tape

Red tape basically means the requirement and procedure that need to be followed to get things done. It is almost always a trivia task like submitting a cover letter, filling up forms, waiting for the form to be approved before you are given another form.

Why not do exactly the same to people asking you to do their job. Get them to fill up a form and submit the form to your superior. If your superior approve the form, then you will have to do the job. If not, you can just walk away. You can say that you are having a lot of trouble with your superior since you are not able to meet deadline. I sincerely believe they will not bother you anymore.

6) Give them a taste of their own medicine

If your colleague give you a work to do, you can take it but in about 5 minutes, walk to his desk and give him your work for him to do. It doesn’t need to be 5 minutes but the sooner the better since they will remember that they had just give you the work. If he can’t help you with your work, just return his work to him.

It’s basically another way to say NO

7) Teach him to fish

You know the saying. “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for the day, Teach the man how to fish and you will be feeding him for the rest of his life.”

Some people may ask you to help because you are so good at what you do. Maybe your English grammar is excellent, or you are very good with software etc. The best way to handle this kind of situation is to actually spend time coaching them on how to do their job. You may not get paid for this but there are so many other benefit that you can reap.

  • He will be so grateful to you and he will definitely return the favor one day
  • You will be seen as someone who like to help people grow
  • You can get them off your back forever


I must stress that helping out people is a very good thing. But in this article, I am assuming that the people asking for help are abusing this kindness. They are still asking others to help with their work when they should be able to do it just fine.

– I Wonder –
Do you have any other tricks to help Pankaj say NO to his colleague?

———- Personal Note ————
I once went to the immigration office with a colleague. My colleague were in front of me when We were queuing up to get the number. He got the number 100 and I who was immediately after him got the number 105. (Of course I can’t really remember the number but I know that there were gaps between my colleague’s number and mine.)

That is step number 4 and 5 mixed together.

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Basic Trick To Success You May Not Know

Summary – Success definition

I talked to one of my colleague this morning. To make things easier, let’s call him Peter. Peter is an acting manager to an estate here but he’s going to retire next year. I actually asked him whether he will apply for extension and maybe then he will be confirmed as a manager. He simply answered “No, I don’t need the “Manager” title to become successful. I am already successful by my own definition.”

That simple sentence had left me speechless (For a few seconds of course).

I then continued to ask him what he meant by that. He spent the next 30 minutes telling me how he had managed to send his son and daughter to do medicine. He told me how hard it was for him to find almost $100K to ensure his children get the best from him.

Truly inspiring.

However this entry is not about the sacrifice made by parents for their children.

It is about how the word “Success” is defined differently from one person to another. Some may consider becoming a manager is a success. Another will consider bringing up successful children as their success.

Personally, I think Peter’s ultimate success is when he had figured out his personal definition of success. He defined the word success for him to strive. He knows that money and ranks are not success (at least not to him). That is why he didn’t bother to ask for extension and strive for that “Manager” title.

I find this very interesting. Don’t you?

If I can ask you one question, what’s your definition of success?

Peter did give me one tip to help me answer that question. If you answer “Becoming a millionaire” as your definition of success, and you have made it as a millionaire, can you still smile and say “my life is complete” knowing that today is your last day of your life.

———— Personal Note ————-
Let say the world has a king. He is so powerful that nobody can disagree with him. Everybody is so afraid of him, the world is at peace.

Let say that king exists. Who do you think in this world that is even more powerful that he can touch the king’s head and the king will not mind?

The king’s barber.

Photo Credit – Nattu

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Pay Yourself First Without The Money

If you are into financial management, I bet all my money that you have heard of the concept “Pay Yourself First”. Rest assured this post is not about finance.

Basically, the idea is to allocate a portion of your paycheck to be saved elsewhere before you even settle your pay-or-die bills. The concept is created simply because saving if not forced, is an impossible thing to do. I know it is kind of harsh, but it is the truth. You can see the proof from my bank account (which of course I will not disclose here).

Forget about my bank account. Just look at yours. Did you manage to save money if you didn’t save it immediately after you get your paycheck?

Amazingly the concept is just as useful to be applied to other things in life.

1) Peace of mind.
Everytime you have a moment of peace from work, or crying children etc, just take some time to finish off your book. Do not fill up that moment with anything else. Do what you want to do first.

2) Achievement.
Everytime you do a great job, give yourself a pat and say “Nicely done [insert name here]”. Do this before you start congratulating others.

3) Career.
Everytime you are overwhelmed with mountains of work, some yours and some are others’, you should always finish up your work first before helping out others. There’s no point in being a jobless angel.

4) Student life
If you are given the responsibility to be the president of your student council, but your grade are heavily affected by it, you should resign from the post and start focusing on your study. That is paying yourself first too.

/end list

It is always a noble thing to be selfless and to always think of others before yourself. But a line must be drawn simply because if you are taking care of others your entire life, who is actually taking care of you.

Remember the safety briefing given by the flight attendant everytime you board an aeroplane. You must first use the gas mask before you help your child. The reason is because nobody else will take care of your child if you had already fainted.

– I Wonder –
Do you pay yourself first?

——- Personal Note ——–
When it comes to loved ones, all rules go out the window. People no longer care for themselves when their loved ones are at risk. Would you agree?

Photo Credit – Allner_s

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10 Simple Ways To Backup Your Life

Summary – Sometimes redundancy is a bliss

It was the year 2001. I was doing my internship at the time with a petrochemical company. I remember this year very fondly because this is the year I make one of the biggest mistake in my life.

Please bear with me as I explain some details about the mistakes. You see, being a student, my computer was my life. I had files about everything saved in my PC. This includes notes, assignments, projects, personal pictures, diaries etc. In short, the last 5 years of my life were well documented in that PC.

One fine day, I mistakenly formatted the PC and I lost everything in seconds.

(This is where I pause for about 2 minutes regretting that I don’t have backup)

They say the last person to laugh usually have backups. Therefore compiled below are some suggestion on how you can start to backup your life based on what I’ve learnt.

1) Invest in an external drive.

The price for an external drive is now very cheap. You can get 1GB of space for about $0.30. Just imagine buying a permanent storage for thousands of documents for a few dollars only. Isn’t that a bargain?

2) Use Gmail

Gmail is personally the best webmail ever created. At the time this is written, Gmail is offering around 7GB plus of space for you to use. You can upload all your files there without ever worrying of running out of space. The best thing about Gmail is that the search engine is so advanced, you can find any documents in just seconds.

I have actually compiled a list of phone numbers, addresses and URLs in my Gmail. This way, I know that I can always get that information as long as I’m connected to the internet.

3) Get an actual note book

It will never hurt to actually own a few books to jot down important details such as phone number, addresses etc. You never know when suddenly you are cut off from technology with nothing but your book.

4) Scan your notes / documents

If you want to retype all your notes into your computer, it will take you another 10 years of your life just to do that. It is better if you can scan your notes or if you don’t have a scanner, take snap shots of your notes using your digital camera or camera phone.

You are in the same time decluttering too.

5) Use software to backup your phone

I formatted my cellphone on a regular basis. I prefer to have a short list of contact number in my phone book. This way I can immediately find a friend’s number fast. But, I have no worry because I always backup the data on my phone into my PC

I’m using this software – (MyPhoneExplorer) to help me back up my data. So far, I am impressed. Try it.

6) Memorize 3 phone numbers

But what will happen if you don’t have your cellphone or laptop or your notebook and you are lost somewhere in the city. Who will you call? More importantly do you know the number to call?

I suggest that you memorize 3 phone numbers of your closest friends or family. Remember it by hard. Who knows, this may be the one thing that will save your life some day.

7) List down important dates throughout the year

You know that book you keep your details in (Point 3)? I prefer to call it VIB (Very Important Book). All you need to do is to list down important dates throughout the year in the book. It may be your anniversary date, or your doctor’s annual appointment. One year is a very long time, and my guess is that people can sometime forget an important date easily within that period of time.

8] Take pictures of your life daily

If you browse my computer now, you will notice around 3000 pictures saved in it. They are not just a picture of me with a scenery. In fact, I snapped a lot of pictures ranging from flowers, bugs, scenery, events to the unrecognizable. They may not mean anything to other people, but they are very important pieces of my life that brings back a lot more memories.

Seriously one of the best investment I ever made – A camera phone.

9) Write a biography of you

Just think about it. Do you know anyone in the whole world that will write a biography about you. I don’t think so, unless you are a very famous person.

Here’s a project. Why don’t you start writing your own biography. Let it be a small project you do once in every week. It is not for sale of course. Believe me, it will be one of your VIBs during your golden days.

10) Impart wisdom to your children

What better way to back up your life other than seeing your son/daughter to learn everything about life from you. They will be a better version of you.

This is for me, the best way for you to back up your life. Teach your children all the good things you know about life. Impart your wisdom to them so it will guide them throughout their life. Just imagine, an exact replica of you who possess your wisdom and your best quality.

In a way, this is the only way a person can live forever.

– I wonder –
Are there any other way that I may have missed to backup your life?

———– Personal Note ———–
One of the worst case scenario that I sometime picture in my head is an amnesia incident. What if suddenly you forget everything even your name? What will you do? That’s would be the worst kind of formatting accident ever.

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