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Have You ‘Unlocked’ the Power of Saying Yes and No?

Dive into Unlocked: The Power of You by Gezim Gashi and explore the game-changing influence of our choices: saying “yes” and confidently saying “no.” Through personal experiences and reflections, Gashi unravels the dynamics of these choices, revealing how they shape our journey toward productivity, purpose, and fulfillment.

Read this exclusive excerpt for profound insights that can reshape how we navigate life’s endless decisions.

Unlocked || Gezim Gashi

“If you aren’t working on Saturdays and
Sundays, someone else will, and they
are going to take your seat.”


I met David a few years ago at Universal Music Group in Los Angeles, where he did a master class for my students. He has long been an inspiration to me, and it was amazing to meet with him and watch him teach our students.

One of the things he said, something that I’ll never forget, is quoted above.


Unless we identify whatever it is that we want to do more than watching Netflix or checking our phone or sleeping in, we won’t have the energy and determination needed.

Once you find the thing that you will say yes to, always, it becomes easier to say no to everything else.


We make so many decisions every day. Whether to hit snooze, whether to send that email, whether to reach out and try again to schedule that meeting with the person who seems to be avoiding us. The power of yes, “Yes, I do want to do this thing more than anything else,” is the power that keeps us moving forward.


Yes unleashes our energy and our talents.
But it is the power of no that frees us to succeed. Without it, the work we do on Saturdays and Sundays may be taking us in the absolute wrong direction.


How many times have you watched people succeed at something only to realize it wasn’t really what they wanted? Become the greatest in their field and then fall into despair or self-sabotage?


How many times have you invested time and energy in attracting the attention of a person you later realized wasn’t someone you wanted in your life?


As many wise people have said before me, success isn’t just about working hard, but about working smart. Stephen R. Covey, the author of the monumental bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”


It is true of our influence on other people, but even more importantly, it is true of our stewardship of our own lives.

There are so many ways we can allow our time and energy to be drained by unimportant tasks, bad habits and procrastination. Many people are outpaced while working long hours—they aren’t working on the right things, or they aren’t regularly recharging their energy and so they burn out.


In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey introduced another life-changing idea: our success is determined largely by how well we care for the people who make us successful. For example, I know that I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for my family—they are the people who make everything I do worthwhile. If I had the choice of being at the Grammys or being with my family, my question would be, “Which would make my family happier?” And that isn’t self-sacrifice on my part—my happiness is my family’s happiness, and their happiness is mine. I can be 100 percent sure that they will want me to do what is best for me. That’s what will make them happy. So, success for me includes making time for my family, no matter what. When they need me, I’m there for them Similarly, I know that my body and mind are the instruments that enable me to live my best life. Sleeping at least seven hours a night doesn’t interfere with my work—it is the foundation of my work, just as Serena Williams eats nutritious food and employs the best practice techniques to
win championships.


Barack Obama had a closet full of identical blue suits so that he didn’t have to think about what to wear. Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck and jeans to work every day. Many accomplished people eat the same breakfast and lunch each day to remove yet another decision and series of tasks from their schedule.


The healthiest people make activity part of their daily routine.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear makes a powerful case for the impact of tiny changes, which he compares to the slightest adjustment in a flight path. Initially, the change is almost unnoticeable, which is why it’s easier to make. Within a brief time, however, when a change becomes a habit, the impact on your direction and destination is significant. And all habits are seeded in a yes and a no. Yes to one thing, no to everything else.


Clear and other researchers have found that it is very difficult to stop a bad habit but much easier to replace a bad habit with a positive one.


We say no to having a cigarette or eating that second pastry and yes to going out for a walk while we talk to a friend on the phone. If we deprive ourselves of pleasure, our mind and body will find a way to recalibrate—we want and need pleasure! But if we can replace one kind of pleasure with another, the new pleasure will become a positive habit quickly.


No to one thing, yes to another.
Yes to one thing, no to another.
We get more effective at life and all decisions when we think in terms of this couplet rather than about all the decisions we must make.


Sometimes this balancing act of yes and no is easy and clear. I know that partying until the early morning will cost me my energy and focus the next day; it might even leave me with a fuzzy head a day or two after that if I indulge too much. Being clear on my “yes” makes it easy—yes, I want to help other people identify and leverage their brilliance, which means I don’t have any days to waste.


Yes, I have to be sharp.
No, I’m not going to stay at that party past eleven.


Get your copy of Unlocked: The Power of You by Gezim Gashi wherever books are sold.

Choices by Shivshankar Menon – An Excerpt

Shivshankar Menon served as national security adviser to the prime minister of India from 2010–14 and as India’s foreign secretary from 2006–09. A career diplomat, he has served as India’s envoy to Israel (1995–97), Sri Lanka (1997–2000), China (2000–03) and Pakistan (2003 06). In 2010, Menon was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers. Menon in his book, Choices, gives an insider’s account of the negotiations, discussions and assessments that went into the making of India’s foreign policy.
Let’s read an excerpt from the book- Choices.
I am often asked why India committed itself to not using its nuclear weapons first. The center-right National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government adopted the no-first-use doctrine when India first publicly tested nuclear weapons at Pokhran in 1998, and all subsequent governments of India have reiterated this pledge.1 The doctrine states that:

The fundamental purpose of Indian nuclear weapons is to

deter the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons by any

State or entity against India and its forces. India will not be

the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with

punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.


India will not resort to the use or threat of use of nuclear

weapons against States which do not possess nuclear

weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapon powers.

There is still some residual anxiety in India about the wisdom of this commitment, particularly in military minds. Why have a weapon and forswear its use? India could have followed the United States and Pakistan in retaining the option of using its most powerful weapon first should the nation’s defense require it.
The answer to that question lies in India’s nuclear doctrine, which is itself a product of the unique circumstances in which India finds itself. Those circumstances also explain why India chose to test nuclear weapons and become a declared nuclear weapon state (NWS) in 1998.
By the late 1990s, India was in a situation where two of its neighbors with whom India had fought wars after independence, Pakistan and China, were already armed with nuclear weapons and were working together to build their capabilities and proliferate them in Asia. The international nonproliferation regime was not in any position to address this problem. India therefore chose to become a declared NWS in 1998. The Indian government made that decision in the face of opposition by all the major powers, despite misgivings within Indian society, and after twenty-four years of international nuclear sanctions resulting from India’s first nuclear test, Pokhran-I, in 1974. (India described the 1974 test as a “peaceful nuclear explosion,” adopting a term from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, whereas the 1988 test was described by the government of India as a nuclear weapon test.) Those sanctions had been designed to “cap, cease and roll back” India’s civil nuclear program and potential to make atomic weapons. They had failed to do so. Since 1974, India had also been threatened with nuclear weapons at least three times: twice by Pakistan and once, implicitly, by the entry of the nuclear-armed U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 war with Pakistan. (The Enterprise had also entered the Indian Ocean in 1962 when India and China fought their brief border war, but that move was intended to support, not threaten, India.)
When India decided to test nuclear weapons publicly, in 1998, it was evident that nuclear weapons, because of the scale and duration of the destruction they cause, are primarily political weapons, the currency of power in the nuclear age, rather than effective warfighting weapons. The government of India therefore declared after the 1998 tests that these weapons were to prevent nuclear threat and blackmail, and that India would not be the first to use nuclear weapons against other states. If, however, anyone dared use nuclear weapons against us, we would assuredly retaliate and inflict unacceptable damage on the adversary.


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