The Power of “NO” – by Cameron Dunlap

“No” is one of the shortest yet most powerful words in our vocabulary. It’s one of the first words we hear as an infant when our parents try to keep us from harm and we continue to hear it every day ’til the day we die.

Somewhere along the way “no” got a bad rep. We’ve come to think that “no” is exclusionary, rather than inclusive. “No” seems to shut down interaction with others. “Can I have a puppy? “No.” “Do you want to go out Saturday night? “No.” “Boss, can I have a raise? No!” “No” means “no” and “no” is BAD!

Or IS it?

If we can attain some mastery of the word we may find that we acquire a new ability to accept and use it to create the life we want. Instead of being a “negative” or “downer” word, maybe “no” can be a potent “power word”. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s look at the word from the perspective of the listener first, then from that of the speaker.

The word “no”, as it pertains to Real Estate Investing, is of particular interest. When you are doing the business correctly, making lots of offers to buy, you hear “no” often. You hear “no” far more often that you hear “yes” whether you’re buying Junkers or Pretty Houses. Hearing a seller say “no” is a normal part of our business. We hear it every day.

Our business is a numbers game. You’ll average 10 to 20 offers for every Junker you buy. That’s a lot of “nos” for every “yes”. With Pretty Houses you can expect an average of 2 to 5 offers per Pretty House that you buy. Factors such as your experience level, self-confidence, preparedness, etc. will affect these averages.

The quality of the offers you are making will have a lot to do with the averages. Are your offers realistic? Are you making multiple offers? Are you considering whom you are making your offers to and their needs? Are you following up on your offers even if the seller has said no?

By the way, this is a part of the real estate process you’ll no longer have to second-guess when you’re a part of my exclusive Inner Circle. This entire conversation is very similar to the types of topics and lessons I share with my Inner Circle members each month. If you like the idea of having me and my team in your corner each month to discuss your deal-related questions, then you need to check this out now! 

It’s no problem to deal with a seller saying “no” right? It’s a normal part of your business and you can handle a little rejection, right? You hear “no” all the time and are trained to deal with it. Right? Hmmm…I’m not so sure. When we hear the word “no” it is one of the purest forms of rejection you’ll ever endure. Rejection is hard to take because it gets personal. We think the “no-er” is rejecting us personally. No matter how you slice it, everyone has some amount of fear of rejection, everyone.

What often happens is that, even though you think you’re tough and you can handle it, you get so sick of feeling rejected that there is a drop-off in the number of offers you make. Your numbers dwindle until you eventually quit making offers altogether. You may not even be aware it’s happening until you wake up one day and realize you haven’t bought anything in weeks or months.

Are you suffering from “Gotta-do-a-deal-itus“?

This sometimes leads to a full-blown case of “Gotta-do-a-deal-itus” wherein you knowingly pay too much for a property. (At least the seller didn’t say “NO”!) This is a tragic, knee-jerk response to the situation that can have a devastating impact on your business. Though you tell yourself you’re strong and that you would never succumb to such a fate you may be in a state of denial and have a good case of it right now.

It’s possible that your subconscious is insulating you from the discomfort of failure without you even knowing it. How could that happen? Your subconscious is clever and capable and can invent very justifiable reasons why you are not making offers. One of its functions is to help you feel good about yourself. For example, do you ever give yourself reasons or excuses why you’re not doing what you know you need to be doing? If so, this could be your subconscious at work behind the scenes providing you with these clever, make you feel good, excuses.

Many of us truly believe in our heart of hearts that the reason we are not more successful is because we have other priorities that stand in the way. In reality it is a powerful fear of rejection that stands in the way. This fear can be so strong that our subconscious, which is ultimately there to protect us, steps in and seduces our conscious mind with all sorts of falsehoods. This way, at least we can still feel good about ourselves, or at least not worse.

If this is happening to you, be aware that this is an entirely normal and predictable reaction to feeling rejected. It is extremely common and may well be the greatest single reason for failure in this business. Also know that if this is happening to you, you’re most certainly NOT in control of your life, and it is control of your life that you’re seeking or you wouldn’t be in this business.

You may be saying to yourself, “I’m glad this psychobabble doesn’t apply to me”. But let me ask you a question. Are you doing the deals you need to be making the money you want? Are you where you want to be with your Real Estate Business? If not, why not? Be careful, you could be in denial. Yep. You could be so strongly hypnotized by your excuses and rationalizations that you’re not even willing to consider that you are in denial.

If you are not doing what you want to be doing, if your business is not as prosperous as you want it to be, a simple fear of rejection could be stealing your dream. Maybe it would be a good time to have a long talk with your self.

Think about it. It’s easy to look at yourself in the mirror and say: “The reason I’m not more successful in the Real Estate business is because I am too busy”, or “because I’m unlucky” or “because I’m too young” or “because I’m too old” or “because I need more education” or “because of this or that or the other thing”. These excuses make you feel better because they get you off the hook.

Taking a good hard look in the mirror…

On the other hand, it’s NOT easy to look at yourself in the mirror and say: “The reason I am not more successful in the Real Estate business is because I have a paralyzing fear of rejection” or “when a seller says “no” to me, I take it personally and I can’t handle it.” The truth sometimes feels like a punch in the stomach.

Sadly, it’s easier and less painful to take the easy way out and cling to our excuses. Ironically, when we soothe ourselves with excuses it’s simply our subconscious at work. It protects us from pain and it allows us to believe that our excuses are valid. This is going on deep in the background of our subconscious. Isn’t it amazing that this life-dampening, success-threatening conspiracy is going on in your head without your knowledge or permission?

When it comes to the all-powerful subconscious, there is only one thing you can do. You must train it to do the things that propel you to achieve your goals, and only you can do that. Think about it: it’s your body, your mind, and your future. If you want to succeed, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS. If you don’t train your subconscious, you will be in shackles your whole life. You’ll never get what you want and you’ll never understand why things “didn’t turn out right”. With the unlimited opportunities that surround us, the vast majority of Americans are imprisoned because they never learned how to train their mind.

So, how do you tame your subconscious and break through your fears?

How do you wrestle control of your life from foolish thinking? You need FOOD. Yes, “food”. I’m not talking about Big Macs or celery. I’m talking about BRAIN FOOD!! You need to feed your brain a solid diet of healthy food. I am talking about thinking positively, using affirmations, listening to good information on tapes or CD’s, reading books and articles that inspire you, focusing on your goals, and directing your thinking. Some of the best brain food of all is our own directed thinking. Remember this saying. Successful people direct their thinking. Unsuccessful people have random thoughts.

You have to say no to Brain Junk Food. Brain Junk Food is your negative thoughts, the negative people around you, brainwashing by the media, and mind-numbing TV, to name a few examples. Anything that goes into your head that does not have a positive effect and does not propel you toward your goals is Brain Junk Food. You must avoid it at all costs. You must ruthlessly cut it out of your life like a cancer from your body. You cannot afford the luxury of being lazy about this!

Years ago I read a book called “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of Another Negative Thought” by Peter McWilliams and Jean Sedillos (Prelude Press, ISBN: 0931580579) that really helped change the way I think. I give most of the credit for my success to my subconscious because it has steered me right, kept me motivated, and been a source of strength over the years. Here’s why: I have been very careful in what I have fed my mind, and you should be too. It only takes a marginal shift in your current habits and attitudes to start training your subconscious mind to be a source of strength and power. Remember that if you want change in your life you must change what you think. Change what you are feeding your brain, face your fears and overcome them, and then redesign your life so you can live the lifestyle of your dreams.


Now about using the word “no” in OUR vocabulary…

Saying the word “no”. Using the word “no” requires skill and courage. Think about this: when was the last time you agreed to do something that you knew, even as you as you were agreeing to do it, you didn’t want to do? Perhaps I should ask how many times TODAY. It’s hard to say “no”. It’s easy to say “yes”. “No” invites conflict and disappointment. Saying “yes” makes others happy, especially when we have a sense of responsibility to the person asking us.

“No” is a word reserved for the empowered. “No” requires a sense of self-confidence strong enough that if the other person feels rejected, it doesn’t affect you. The skill required to use “no” usually comes once you’ve achieved (or believe you have achieved) some degree of success. As you achieve your goals and gain confidence, you find it easier to say “no”. Since successful people utilize “The Power of “no”, then we should use it as we become successful, too!

Saying “no” is a subtle yet extremely powerful way of exercising control over your life. When you begin to enjoy the freedoms of success you will find yourself saying “no” and being empowered by it. When you’re operating from a position of strength as opposed to a position of weakness you can do what you want, when you want, and “no” becomes an increasingly important part of your vocabulary.

They say that growth comes from letting go…

If that is so then you can’t grow until you let go of what is holding you back. And you can’t let go of all the unnecessary details, unwanted commitments, and annoying entanglements of life until you can say “no”.

The key is to begin exercising control over your life NOW. No matter what level you’re at or where you plan to go, the sooner you start letting go and saying “no” the sooner you will achieve your goals.

To which parts of your life can you apply this thinking? To which requests, invitations, and questions should you begin saying “no”? I bet you can think of lots right now.

I measure the character of those around me by their ability to do what they said they would do. If you find yourself saying “yes” while thinking “no” and then you don’t do what you said you would do, you’re life will be riddled with guilt and regret. This, my friend, is one of the greatest maladies you can have. Not doing what you said you would do is the surest route to failure and personal dissatisfaction there is.

People who can say “no” when it is appropriate rarely fall victim to this form of character blight. Those with weak character say “yes” when they mean “no”. Those of strong character say “no” when they mean “no”.

So, you see the word “no”, as tiny as it is, truly is one of the most powerful words in our vocabulary. Mastering its use is a goal worthy of your attention. Whether we are hearing it or saying it, “no” is one word that can make the difference between success and failure.


Cam Dunlap

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22 thoughts on “The Power of “NO” – by Cameron Dunlap

The message of good food for the brain came just at the right time Thanks!

This is a right-on-time message. I have been a student of yours since 2006 (that’s EIGHT years gone by) and I have yet to close a deal. Don’t get me wrong here…its not because your system doesn’t work, I know it does. Its because I let the fear creep in and paralyze me. I am sick & tired of putting myself through this. Cameron, you are heaven sent, and I know the Good Lord sent you to give this message to me. Thank you soooo much. I shall use this as a catalyst for new beginnings. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you !!!!

Thank you, Cam. Informative, clear, and well written. I appreciate the insight.

Thanks for this article. It makes sense and no one bats 1000 in making offers. I am reluctant to do the needful (making offers) and have no quorums filling my day with other aspects of the business which I am more comfortable with executing. That will never make me successful.

This particular article I think is actually going to trigger my but to prioritize what is needed finally.
Thanks for taking the time to share your insight, wisdom and knowledge 🙂

Hi Cam! Your article was right on time. My pastor spoke about saying “No” today at Church. I am now ready to say “No” to the many interruptions and get the jobs done…thank you once again.

Thanks Cam, Great article full of Truths. We all need to exercise the power of NO!!
We think it is a kindness or a decision of “not wanting” to disappoint someone we love or respect by saying Yes in the many instances you mention (& more I can think of). Instead we do them and ourselves a disfavor, as we (I do) do what we say we will do, and we rob ourselves of having the time or energy to do what we should be doing to bring us to Greater Financial Freedom. This would allow us to say “Yes” more freely and comfortably in the future, especially if it is a request for more of your time and attention to give to loved ones. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of prioritizing!

Very true! This has been important in my life. I used to let people walk all over me and now I try to step back and think before I react. I use “no” alot more than I used to it and it helps me in my RE biz. Especially when it comes to buyers… They often try to tell me how they want to see a property or what the value of the property is. When I set the rules upfront and stick to them, I enjoy more business more and repel the people I don’t like doing business with.

I read a good book called “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It really helped understand why and how to say no in everyday life. It was empowering/freeing.

A heartfelt thank you for this article Cam, it came just the right time, very enlightening it has profoundly impacted me after I read it. It opened my eyes ,heart and mind how I have been thinking , feeling and behaving. A million times I wanted to say “no” and instead I said “yes”. Your article came just the right time when I needed the most, I was ready to put it aside for now because I was TOO BUSY TO DO REAL ESTATE RIGHT NOW!!! Now you have given the tool/power to say “no”, I will have time to do r.e.. Again, many thanks for your wise. words of wisdom.

I have generally thought that by saying yes I was more worthy or lovable. Your blog on saying no exposes the idea that just the opposite may be going on. Fearing that if I say no that I am not worthy or lovable. I see how saying no can be a very positive thing. It will take some work to retrain my brain but after reading and rereading your blog I believe it will be well worth it. THANKS!!!

Thanks for the great information and the swift kick in the butt, lol.

Yes and no are powerful yet no has hidden power that can be more powerful than yes. I have only just begun to learn the power of no in both my personal and business lives. Your training is pushing me toward success I have only dreamt about. Saying no is freeing but we must know when and how to properly apply it. Thanks for this article as it helps identify that fine line.

Cam so true. It was an awesome article. I need to say no more often a lot!

Thank you. Diving deep, focusing light on key sources of strength from which we all profit —you are truly sharing wealth!

This is so powerful. Thanks Cam.
Perhaps this fear of rejection is what is paralyzing me. I have all the tools I need through your rich program, all the encouragements from my weekly mentor group calls, yet I still have not made a deal yet.
This week blog is a wake up call. I am going to analyze my lack of activity,psyche my self into a ” I can do it” mode and start calling sellers.
I am motivated now. Let’s see what happens.
Once again thanks Cam for being there for us.

Wow! Very thought provoking and well put. Some of your insights I would almost consider profound. There is alot to think about in there.
Thank you for sharing.

Thank you so much I needed to read this. Again Thanks Cam.

I appreciate this reminder from you Cam; thank you for this letter on “NO” I had been with REWN for about 2 months now and have not come up with a deal. Everything in the letter is very true for me, I am exactly the character in this letter of yours. I don’t have anything much to say because it is me all the way. I just have this fear of not knowing enough of the industry to gather the courage to come up with deals. It is a lame excuse to say that I am new but like how it is, education is key. I wanted to make sure that I am well equipped to counter challenges I will be facing such as the fear you mentioned. I now am feeling a bit of courage to move forward; I have been gathering some reading materials to motivate and get me going. After reading “Atomic Habits” and “Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill I feel I am ready to move forward with the tasks at hand. Thank you for the encouragement and the support. God bless.

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