I make a lot of commitments. Most of them have to do with my incessant urge to help people become wealthy. Why I find it so difficult to say “no” to a friendly ambition, I can’t say. But it’s something I’m teaching myself to do.

Today, for example, I told FY that I didn’t have time to help his wife become a direct-marketing millionaire. I’d be happy to buy the ETR program for her. I’d be happy to introduce her to a few friends. But as far as actually being there for her, 24/7, I couldn’t do it. That’s what I said. But when I saw the look of chagrin in his eyes, I amended it with a tough statement. “OK, I’ll give her free coaching for an hour a week for 30 weeks.” His eyes brightened. “But that’s it!”

I’m a hopeless case. I hope you can learn from my bad example. Make it a habit to say “no” 10 times for every time you say “yes.” You’ll be happier for it.

Happier, but maybe not richer. Truth is, I’ve made a career out of saying “yes.” I can’t remember the last time I said “no” to a partner or protege. It’s a word that almost never comes out of my mouth.

So, yes, if you want to be rich and successful, say “yes.” Say “yes” and then “yes” again and then “yes” a third time. If you want to be happy, learn to say “no.” And if you want to be successful AND happy . . .

Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out lately. When to say “yes.” And when to say “no.”

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Say “yes” — often but not always — to two people: your spouse and your business partner.

2. Say “no” — as often as you possibly can — to everyone who asks you for help. This would include:

* your lazy colleague

* your shiftless friend

* your spoiled children/grandchildren

* your most self-centered customers

* anyone who isn’t willing to give back

Here’s something else you can do to lighten your load and keep your forward momentum going forward:

* Write a list of 20 things — people, situations, or responsibilities — that are causing you stress.

* Reduce that list to 10.

* Reduce it again to three.

* Now pick one of those three.

* And stop doing it.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

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