There are some absolute masters of giving up on this planet. There are countless people who give up on a whim or the first time they are told no.  They just seem to complain they are too tired or just don’t have enough time and thus drop something that had the hallmarks of success.  It would be fair to say that many of us have given up on at least something, those dreadful guessing games that young kids play: I spy with my little eye something beginning with “C” as you drive along the road; you give countless answers beginning with “C” and every time you get a resounding “No!” from the 5-year-old.

Eventually you say “I give up”, and ask what the “C” is.

“Cat” comes the answer and you look puzzled.

“Where is the cat?” you ask

“Back there” and the child points back about 10 miles and you shake your head and laugh.

You have every right to eventually give up on this because it was impossible, but if you look at what you have just done by playing I spy you have come across one of biggest reasons why people give up. The word “No”.

Imagine in Edison had given up on his second attempt at making a light bulb when every attempt resulted in a “No”?  Or is the Wright brothers gave up because they were told “No, you can’t fly”? The world would be very different.

If Edmund Hillary could have seen the top of Mount Everest and decided to turn back what would have been the point?  He would have been tired, the weather could have turned at any moment and the summit was in sight and inside there may have been a voice telling him to turn back even though all he had to take was just one step more, then one step more and he would make it.  He said “NO” to turning back when it was perhaps the loudest thing in his head. Hillary turned a “NO” into a “yes” because he like Edison and the Wright brothers was determined to succeed.  It is often mind over matter, especially in physical activities such as mountaineering and yet so many of us decide to give in to the “NO”

We can’t always see the triumphant fanfare of success, in business success is often clouded from view until we get there and even when we can’t see it we know it but still we give up because all we hear is “NO”. It only takes one more step, just a few more minutes because as Napoleon Hill famously recollects we are only “3 feet from gold”

Even when it seems impossible but inside you know it is possible, at the darkest point that is when you need to dig deep and find the energy, find the reserves and the courage to walk just one more step.

It was taught to me many years ago that “No” is actually a positive statement. I was in cold calling sales in IT and after a dozen of these on an outbound, sales call centre the word “No” can be very disheartening and many salesmen give up after a day or two. I didn’t give up and took “No” in my stride. The word “No” is a positive thing, don’t spend hours crying about it but rather move on to the next one, take one more step. I learnt that “No” is the word that means “Move on to the next one”. “No” hasn’t killed you, it hasn’t chopped off your left leg or anything like that, “No” has just directed you and made you take one more step.

It was “No” that moved Edison on 10,000 times so it is said and then on 10,001 he got it right. If he had listened to “No” and not taken one more step each time he encountered it we would still be using candles.  “No” is one of the most powerful 2-letter words any leader or entrepreneur should learn to appreciate, it always closes one door to allow another and maybe another to open for you and once you understand it you can soon take that one more step to success. Edmund Hillary said “No” to turning back and made it to the top, I was told “No” couldn’t be a writer and here I am today doing what I was told I could not do. I did it by taking a number of “one more step” steps forward and I never let “No” put me off. I never gave up!