What if you could drop all your fears that stop you from achieving whatever you like?
What if you could stay calm while saying “No” to anyone anytime you really don’t want to do, what they want you to do?
What if you could with the same strength and peace of mind say “No” to all the things that try to allure you into doing something you don’t want to do.
Would you like such a strength and power?
Then find out how the old samurais and medieval warriors gained their power of saying no and making decisions. The same power that we admire even today when we look at any movie hero. This power could be yours too. Are your ready?
What You Might Not Know About Kung Fu?
Just out of luck I came across a Wikipedia article about the term Kung Fu. I highly recommend reading it. It describes, what the term kung fu (or Gongfu) meant. What I found is quite astonishing:
Gōngfu (功夫) is a compound of two words, combining 功 (gōng) meaning “achievement” or “merit”, and 夫 (fū) which translates into “man”, so that a literal rendering would be “human achievement”.
Originally, to practice kung fu did not just mean to practice Chinese martial arts. Instead, it referred to the process of one’s training – the strengthening of the body and the mind, the learning and the perfection of one’s skills – rather than to what was being trained. It refers to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor. You can say that a person’s kung fu is good in cooking, or that someone has kung fu in calligraphy; saying that a person possesses kung fu in an area implies skill in that area, which they have worked hard to develop. Someone with “bad kung fu” simply has not put enough time and effort into training, or seems to lack the motivation to do so.
In this meaning, I coined the term No Fu (meaning No Man).
It is the kung fu (i.e. human achievement) of a man who has achieved mastery over the powers of the english word NO.
Why Are We Afraid of the Word No?
From our childhood on we were taught to associate the word “No” with rejection and painful feelings of being a failure. Although our mothers hopefully used the word “No” only to show us the borders, in which we can safely experience our environments, most people learned to associate saying “No” to someone with being rude, impolite or even anti-social. At least we feel a bit uncomfortable saying it to someone.
Ok, you might say “No” today without feeling this pain anymore, but look deep inside yourself and ask, how often have you done things, that you didn’t wanted to do in the current past. How often did you felt like you were not living your life, but you were the servant of other peoples will.
Since I guess that you are not living in real slavery (since you wouldn’t be reading this then), I have to tell you, that whenever you let someone dictate your life, it is not the other persons fault but your fault. You allowed the other person to do this. Either because you don’t want to disappoint them, or you fear the consequences of saying No.
In the end, it will always come down to our fear of the consequences of saying “No”.
What Are You Afraid Of?
A warrior goes into battle with a knowing that he is already destined to die. So he doesn’t need to fear death. Death for him is certain and any further thought is a waste of energy.
What if you could drop all your fears that stop you from achieving whatever you like? What if you could stay calm while saying “No” to anyone anytime you really don’t want to do, what they want you to do? What if you could with the same strength and peace of mind say “No” to all the things that try to allure you into doing something you don’t want to do. Would you like such a strength and power? That is the archetype strength that even today we admire of samurais and medieval knights. This strength that allowed them to go beyond their fears and stick to their believes and decisions. That is – what is attracting us to all those movie heroes. Strength and the power to stick to a decision, even if it means death.
The samurais knew that every decision (and saying “No” or “Yes” is a decision) has consequences (i.e. a price to pay). And they evaluated that price to pay, just like you do.
The difference is, that they were willing to pay higher prices (even if the price was their death). Now trust me, I don’t want you to pay with your life for anything. But just imagine you were such a samurai. You were so strong in yourself, that nothing could shake you, and even though you might experience fear, you won’t allow it to change your thinking and your decision. Can you imagine yourself being that strong? If you can imagine it, then you can be it.
Now imagine that you are in a situation where someone asks you to do something, that you don’t want to do. Quickly evaluate, what the worst thing really could be to happen, when you tell them straight in the face, that you won’t do it. Would you be willing to risk that payment?
Evoking the Power of No Fu
Do me a favor and let’s try an experiment. Get yourself a piece of paper or a journal.
- Write down the people (in your private and professional life) that you sometimes have a problem with saying “No” to what they want from you.
- For each person list what you would have liked to say “No” to, but instead what you have agreed on doing.
- For each person write down, what you think would be the worst thing that could really happen, when you tell them that you won’t do it. Would you get fired by your boss? Would your spouse leave you? Would your friends never contact you? Make a quick estimate on a scale of 1 to 10 of the probability of this worst case scenario happening. 1 being highly unlikely and 10 being absolutely sure that this will happen. Notice that very often in our minds we tend to exaggerate things. Write down what you think would really happen.
- This is the essential point: If you really consider the consequences of point 3 probable, then prepare yourself for them to happen.
- If you would get fired, how could you secure your living?
- If your spouse would leave you, how could you go on living?
- If your friends would never contact you, how can you handle that and not get destroyed by it? Try to come up with resourceful answers. Don’t say “My life is over”, but focus on how to go on, how to turn your life around, even if that would happen.
- Make an agreement with yourself, that from now on you will accept the potential worst case as a possible outcome, and that you won’t accept others going against your beliefs anymore. Write it down.
- When it comes to the confrontation: Stay calm, breathe deeply while talking. You now know, that you can already live with your greatest fear, now focus all your energy on constructive working out a better solution with them. If they don’t want to accept that, then you are willing to let them go or get fired. Tell them so, but with a calm voice. Focus your attention on a point just about 2 fingers below your naval and breathe in to this point. This point ic called your “Hara” region in the zen tradition, and it is the point of power, stability and awareness.
As with every kung fu, you have to train this and you shouldn’t expect this to be easy in the beginning. However practice will make you become a master in this art.
What to Accept, and What Not
- Accept that you will die one day
- Accept that others might leave you
- Accept that you might get fired
- Accept all that – but don’t accept to compromise your own beliefs.
If you can do that, you are free of any fear – and you have transcended the No Fu into a Fearless Fu.
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