Thursday, January 3, 2013

Breaking Through Self-Imposed Limits

Sometimes we get in our own way of success. I learned this lesson while watching my two seven year-old boys play together.

Often, as a parent, we say no to requests from our children. No to too much junk food. No to buying another toy. No to doing something dangerous. No, no, no. Children hear “no” a lot more often than ‘yes’ or ‘I love you.” But often it is necessary to say no, unless you want your child to turn into a spoiled, fat kid with one eye missing. Still, I realize that not every no is necessary, just convenient.

For instance, when my son asks me if I can help him build something that looks time-consuming I might say ‘no’ but maybe I need to say yes a few times just so he doesn’t give up hope. Eventually he will be weighed down by ‘no’ in life and the lessons of loss, rejection, and, denial will be learned with the pains of growing up. I would like to delay that a bit and say ‘yes’ a little more often.

Today was one of those days. Normally I would say no to his request to break wood with a hammer in the basement. But this time I let him do it, with his play date, and he loved it. He felt free and mischievous.

Sure it made a mess and sure some wood chunks hit them in the head and sure his friend banged a finger with the hammer, but no blood was shed, no bones broken, and no ER visits. Victory!

I cannot give up my parental authority and the obligations that go with being a dad, but I can reexamine where I can give into his whims and allow for a little chaos. The funny thing about it is that I felt as free as they did.  When they smashed away with their hammers I felt like I was swinging along with them. They were breaking down barriers and seeing what it’s like to break the rules.

We can all learn from this. We should say yes to ourselves when it comes to the behaviors we permit for ourselves. Throw caution to the wind a little. Take a risk. Try something new. Make a mess. Break stuff.

You will feel whole and new for it.

As a writer, book promoter, or marketer, learn to say yes a little more often. Do things you otherwise had not or would not have done. I guarantee that you will grow and be forever changed when you say no to no.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2012 ©

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