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Saying “no” successfully – the best quotes and sayings

Saying no and minimalism are closely related.

“No” to buying new products, “No” to time wasters and distractions and “No” to media consumption.

I first had to learn to say “no” properly. The following quotes have helped me to recognize the high value of saying no for myself.

List of quotes and sayings Say no:


No is a whole sentence.


Learn to say “no”. Only then will others appreciate your “yes”.


True freedom is “to say no without giving a reason.

Amit Kalantri, Indian show artist

The right tone of voice is the hardest part of saying no.

Jonathan Price, British actor

Saying “no” to the little things also means saying “yes” to the big things.

Amit Kalantri, Indian show artist

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Warren Buffet, American investor

Never say “yes” when you actually want to say “no”. That’s how you start lying to yourself. And that is a dangerously bad habit.

Bernard Zitzer

Pay close attention to how people treat those they don’t agree with or are on bad terms with.

Mitta Xinindlu, South African author

Saying no means knowing your limits.


If others don’t agree with your NOs, they shouldn’t be eligible for your YESs either.

Christine E. Szymanski

Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best”

Riche Norton, Author
What you don’t do determines what you can do.
Tim Ferriss, American author

I refuse to please others at the expense of my emotional well-being. Even if that means saying no to people who are used to hearing yes.


Say no because you are strong and not yes because you are weak.


When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.

Paulo Coelho, Spanish writer

It’s easy to say no when you have your priorities under control.


Those who cut themselves down to please others will sooner or later remove themselves.


Learn to say no without justifying yourself.


Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

W. Clement Stone, American entrepreneur
Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.
Lori Deschene, Author

Learn the art of saying no. Do not lie. Don’t make excuses, don’t explain yourself in too much detail. Just refuse.


The art of leadership is saying No, not Yes. It is very easy to say Yes.

Tony Blair, British politician

We need to learn the slow ‘yes’ and the quick ‘no.

Tom Friel, American entrepreneur

It takes courage to say no when our heart, our mind, our gut and above all our pride are longing to say yes. Practice diligently.

Cole Harmonson, American entrepreneur

You need to learn to say no without feeling guilty, setting boundaries is healthy. You have to learn to respect yourself and take care of yourself.


if you don’t want a helping of a certain food, you simply say, “no, thank you.

Paulo Coelho, Spanish writer

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.

Josh Billing, American writer

Allow yourself to say no to anything that makes you unhappy or robs you of energy.


People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Focusing is about saying NO.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Steve Jobs and minimalism

It is not without reason that you will find three quotes from Steve Jobs in this list.

He understood like no other that it is about doing less and not more. That it’s about doing the right thing. This was the only way he could make Apple what it has become thanks to him.

It’s best to hear it in his own words.

"Focusing is about saying no" - Steve Jobs (WWDC'97)


It took me a long time to learn to say no myself. I share my experiences with you in my article Being able to say no.

And if you find it difficult to say no to distractions on the computer, you might also be interested in my list of the best website blockers.


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