SEVERAL YEARS AGO, A GUY I WORKED WITH STARTED PLAYING RACQUETBALL AND THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GREAT IDEA IF I STARTED PLAYING, TOO. THOUGH I HAD NEVER PLAYED BEFORE, SOMETHING DEEP-DOWN INSIDE TOLD ME THAT BEING A PROFICIENT RACQUETBALLER WAS NOT IN MY DNA.
ABOUT ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK, THIS GUY ASKED ME TO PLAY, AND EACH TIME, I FOUND A WAY TO GET OUT OF IT. UNFORTUNATELY, HE WAS THE PERSISTENT TYPE—SOMETHING HE WOULD LATER REGRET.
After several weeks, I decided to accept his invitation because I knew he wouldn’t quit asking me. There was one other reason--I got tired of avoiding him.
So, one day after work, I found myself at a local recreation center in a pair of Nike shorts and a matching t-shirt, racquet in hand. I can’t say how I knew, but I just had a feeling things weren’t going to go well. My co-worker should have gotten the same feeling when I told him I had to stop by the Nike outlet on the way to get sportswear because I didn’t own any.
It didn’t go as badly as I expected.
It was worse.
The match lasted about a half an hour, and by its end, my friend was nursing multiple contusions, amazed that I could miss a wall 30 feet wide and almost as tall, but hit him every time I returned the ball, even as he twisted and ducked to get out of the way. Honestly, I was rather impressed with my ability to hit a moving target, even though I couldn’t explain how I managed to do it.
As Clint Eastwood once said, “A man has got to know his limitations". That goes for women, too, by the way.
Maybe someone has asked you to do something you didn’t want to do because it just wasn’t your thing, but like my co-worker, that someone can’t take no for an answer. And if you’re an especially nice person or want to keep the peace, you may have a hard time saying no. Besides, you certainly don’t want anyone accusing you of being unwilling to try something new—which is perfectly okay to do, if you’re up to it.
But, sometimes, I think we would be better off to say no, especially if you don’t have the conviction to do something in the first place.
Though it can be tedious, if you’re not feeling compelled to do it—whatever it is—you would be better off nixing the idea. Just be honest with others and explain that you don’t feel driven to participate and that they may be overlooking someone who is more capable—or willing.
If you’re honest with them and they still aren’t happy, then at the very least, you tried to warn them.
I haven’t talked to my racquetball partner in years, but I’m sure he would agree.