You've probably heard this before. Learn to say no. Or it has been the title of some self-help book, or in an article that said will guarantee to change your life if you follow these five steps. Learn to say no is a "buzz" term and is often used in the self help space.
But, today we are going to be talking about the importance of learning to say from an athlete's stand point. As an athlete if you want to be an exceptional player or the best player at whatever level you are playing at, you have to learn to say no.
This all comes down discipline at the end of the day, if you have no discipline you will not be able to say no. Therefore we must develop a resilient and disciplined mindset in order to say no in situations.
Look as an elite level athlete or someone who wants to be the best on there A, AA, AAA, Junior team, College team you will need to sacrifice some things. Early morning workouts, staying disciplined in your diet, putting int he extra work on the ice, giving 100% in practice and 110% in games, that extra 10-minutes in the gym, saying no social events, skipping the party at night, skipping the day-drink on Saturday, skipping the school football game. I can go on and on but as someone who wants to be a great player you will miss out on a lot of events. But, if you believe in yourself, stay disciplined, can say no and not give a crap what others say it will make it a lot easier to peruse your dreams.
Discipline, what is it? According to the web, it means "train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience". Where the definition says someone, that someone is you. You have to take the time to develop a code of behavior to obey rules and if you do not follow your own code of conduct, you are punished. It sounds harsh but being punished means that you do not hang out with friends for five-hours today because you broke code, it means no video games for breaking the your own code of conduct. Start thinking along those lines. For myself I was very rigid my sophomore and junior year of college and my teammates/friends can attest to that I was probably a loser haha. As times change, my playing career is over. I have disciplined myself to not pick that high-sugar, fatty food late at night and if I do, I get rid of all that food. Out of sight out of mind, sounds ridiculous but if you cannot control yourself then get rid of the situation. I have disciplined myself to stop using technology one-hour before bed and if I break that rule, I do not use my phone for the first two hours of the next day. I used to discipline myself to not stay out late. drink, etc the day before games so I can be prepared for the game the next day. I disciplined myself to wake up at 515 a.m. Monday-Friday to either lift weights, do cardio or walk. It is little things like this that have allowed me to develop a disciplined mind and feel comfortable saying no to friends, social situations, etc. If you are an exceptional athlete/person you have to say no or learn to say no to certain things. You simply cannot go off and do what everyone else is doing, if you did you would not be the best or trying to be the best. Therefore, accept the fact that you are going to miss out on social situations, you are going to be a little different and you will need to say no, a lot.
How do you develop discipline though? By consistent effort. By doing the little things every single day and not skipping a beat or allowing the little things to fall to the way side on certain days. You develop discipline by feeling comfortable in your skin, and feeling confident in yourself. Discipline is not easy to develop now a days with all the quick gratification, easy to grab foods, social media out there. It is too easy to get sucked in and brought down to the level of those around you, it's too easy to fit in now a days and being disciplined makes you stand out and seen as a different person. But if you tell yourself being different is ok you are on the right track to be a high level performer.
The most important aspect to being disciplined though is, learning to say no. Learning to say no comes from one thing. Not giving a f*ck what others think or say about you. Friends ask you to go out for some drinks after the game but you say no and they start ragging on you. Who gives a sh*t what they say, they will be there in the morning. And for the friends that ask you out to drinks and rag on you for saying no and do not stay friends with you cause of it. Better for you, you just eliminated friends that were clearly no good for you. If you do not give a crap about what others are saying about you, saying no will be ten times easier. You will miss out on some social situations but not all of them just balance it out. Being disciplined comes with knowing how to balance, friends, family, sports and school or work, friends, family but that all comes down to feeling confident and comfortable in yourself. If you truly believe in what you are doing and you believe that what you are doing is going to better set yourself up for the future saying no should not be hard to do.
But, most importantly, learning to say no will be the easiest thing you do. Once you stop caring about what others think or say about you. If you want to be an elite player, top performer, etc. You will have to do things a little differently and you will have to say no a lot of the time. Just always continue to believe in yourself and your vision. It's your life do not allow others to suck you into there life, live your own life and accept the route you are heading down.