What Do You Hear When Someone Says NO?

What we hear when someone says NO is largely a function of who we are, rather than the NO itself. Our level of self-esteem, confidence, and optimism or pessimism colors how we hear and interpret NO from others.

Some people hear:

“You’re stupid. Why on earth did you bring this to me?”

“What were you thinking?”

“You’re a loser.”

“I don’t like you.”

“You’ll never amount to anything in this organization.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“If I want you to have good ideas, I’ll give them to you!”

These people personalize every NO, interpreting rejection as a sign of personal incompetence, stupidity, and sometimes even worthlessness. They suffer greatly in the face of NO and are not inclined to persist, risking ...

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