If you listen to AM radio, you must've already heard the advertisement for vitamins that uses the title of this post as a tagline, and you know that their image model is no other than Robin Padilla. The whole point of the ad is to say that Robin can do all that he does (and even be locked up in jail) because he never backs out, or if you take the tagline literally, he doesn't say no. And he doesn't have to say no to anything because his vitamins give him the energy to do it all! Hooray!
I get the point of not wanting to back out of anything--especially when it comes to work. The ad is talking to people in blue collar jobs and appealing to their yearning to easily put in more hours at work so they can have more income to bring home. In that case, not backing out is a good thing.
I brought this up because I want to focus on something quite the opposite, which is being able to say No. It's ridiculous to go, I never say No. Sure, that's obvious when it comes to things that can get you in trouble, land you in jail, etc., however, there are also other less obvious things that merit saying no to; and because we are thinking people, we should know when these occasions are.
Have you ever heard anyone say: "You can afford it, why not?" or "It's your right to do what you want," and other phrases of the same line of thought? In this get-everything-you-want-NOW kind of world, that seems to be the dominant philosophy. Dominant, though, doesn't necessarily equate to "good for you," and no matter how much of a right you have to drown yourself in junk food, junk media, or junk philosophies, you realize sooner or later that you are not happy drowning in the same after a while. All this yes-ing can get tiring; worse, you come out of it not learning anything at all.
That's one of the things I find wanting in a contraceptive mindset. It's all yes-ing without stopping to think about what's good for anybody, let alone what's good for the self. People can go on harping about their rights as if there's such a thing as rights without responsibility, but it doesn't change the fact that each one of us needs to learn to say No, too.
I find it puzzling how some people applaud the Japanese for their great self-mastery and selflessness, and then trumpet their support for some bill that teaches the Filipinos to throw to the winds those very same virtues. My think: why is self-mastery considered noble when you're in a crisis of Ondoy proportions, but not very valuable in the bedroom?
It's the same virtue: if you can say No in the privacy of your home--say No to lazing around, say No to your vices (you know what those are), say No to putting off spring cleaning to another day, say No to comforts (chocolate?) once in a while--then you will be able to say No when you step outside: hold back that rage when an impudent taxi driver cuts you on the road, avoid succumbing to a BIG SALE that you don't need to be in, call a rain check when your friends are not being prudent about their time and yours....
You may be thinking: how KJ naman to have to say No to so many things! But keep in mind that every No to one thing is a Yes to something else, and something better for that matter. You say No to laziness, you say Yes to accomplishing things. A No to one more bar of chocolate is a Yes to good health, and perhaps to sharing that extra bar with someone else, too. No to the BIG SALE means Yes to saving up for a style piece that you'll get more wear out of later on.
And of course, every well-thought-out No is a brick in that house called character, which constantly needs fortifying, given the fickleness of our "open-minded" world. You gotta learn to say No conscientiously. You gotta think well and hard before you give your Yes to anything. That's good character. That's self-mastery.
...besides, whoever takes "hindi umaayaw" as a compliment better brush up on colloquial Filipino--isn't that the description right next to "Utu-uto"?