Your Research. Your Life. Your Story.

A magnetic community of researchers bound by their stories

For me, saying no is an accomplishment

Reading time
2 mins
For me, saying no is an accomplishment

I used to brag about talks I gave; now I brag about talks I turned down.

I always had a hard time saying NO. Every time I did, it felt like a missed opportunity. Also, it is a somewhat rude action of rejecting an offering to engage, collaborate, or help, and it always left me feeling guilty and regretful. I wish I had infinite time so I could say yes to all the cool opportunities I get, but my time is most definitely not unlimited. So, I found a way to perceive my “NOs” as accomplishments.

I started to write down all the cool things I rejected into a single file. My NO-file has items like: “Said no to a free trip to give a talk in India,” “Said no to being an editor of a journal,” “Said no to reviewing a paper written by a top scholar,” etc. I am at 4 pages now and adding to the list daily. Most importantly, I no longer feel regret about missed opportunities. My “NOs” are contributing to my growing collection of prestigious turndowns and I am free to say YES to things that really matter. I try to get at least a dozen “NOs” for every “YES.”

Dr. Roman Yampolskiy (@romanyam) is an Associate Professor at the Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville. This story was published on March 31, 2019, on Dr. Yampolskiy’s Medium blog (available here), and has been republished here with his permission.

Be the first to clap

for this article

Published on: Aug 05, 2019

Director, Cybersecurity Laboratory; AI Safety & Cybersecurity Researcher
See more from Roman Yampolskiy


You're looking to give wings to your academic career and publication journey. We like that!

Why don't we give you complete access! Create a free account and get unlimited access to all resources & a vibrant researcher community.

One click sign-in with your social accounts

1536 visitors saw this today and 1210 signed up.