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The road to greatness is paved with "no’s"

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One of the characteristics of ordinary people who achieve outrageous success is their ability to deny themselves during the pursuit of their dreams.

Instead of allowing themselves to get sidetracked by trendy technology, luxurious vacation homes or the latest, most fashionable vehicle, ordinary people in pursuit of big dreams say “no” to anything that isn’t important.

They deny themselves pleasures that other, more seemingly successful, people “have to have.” They stay financially fit. And usually, they stay physically and mentally fit, too.

And none of that really matters until the day that it does matter—the day a huge opportunity emerges and all of that no-ing turns out to equal a one big yes.

Because they’re good at saying no to things that they would have liked to have, they now have the money, time, focus and experience to seize the opportunities they have—the same opportunities we all have.

These extraordinary ordinary people are free to quit their jobs and start something new.

And because they’re not saddled with debt and financial stress, they can get by with less and strike out in bold, new directions—all because they said no to what would have felt good in the short term, to what they could have argued they “deserved.”

Self-denial is a powerful weapon in your pursuit of success; its importance cannot be overstated.

There are many things that would make you feel better for the 20 or 30 minutes after you bought them.

But the biggest joy you can experience is to achieve the goals that everyone else will forever know only as dreams.

For this to happen, though, you must become stubborn about saying no. It might not make sense today or tomorrow or perhaps even a decade or two, but, when you least expect it, you’ll realize that saying no has opened up an opportunity for you.

And all that self-denial will have been worth it.

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Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker and author.  He is author of the soon-to-be-released Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success. For more information, go to


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