The Power of Saying No and the Long-Term Benefits of Holding On

Alessio Frateily

Hatched by Alessio Frateily

Oct 11, 2023

5 min read


The Power of Saying No and the Long-Term Benefits of Holding On


In the ever-evolving world of finance and productivity, two seemingly unrelated concepts emerge as key factors for success: saying no and holding on. Both these principles, when applied correctly, can have a profound impact on our wealth accumulation and overall productivity. In this article, we will explore how saying no can be the ultimate productivity hack and why holding on to our investments is crucial for long-term financial growth. By understanding the connection between these two ideas and incorporating them into our lives, we can unlock greater opportunities and achieve our goals more effectively.

Part 1: The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No

In the pursuit of productivity, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with tasks and commitments that may not align with our true priorities. The old computer programming saying, "Remember that there is no code faster than no code," encapsulates the essence of this principle. By learning to say no to unnecessary tasks and obligations, we can free up valuable time and energy to focus on what truly matters. Saying no is not about being uncooperative or ungracious; instead, it is about consciously evaluating the necessity and impact of each request. By understanding that many things are not necessary, we can choose to prioritize our own goals and commitments over external demands.

The Benefits of Saying No:

  • 1. Retaining Your Most Valuable Asset: Time

Saying no is a powerful skill that allows us to guard our time, preventing others from stealing it away. By carefully selecting where we invest our time, we can ensure that it aligns with our long-term goals and aspirations. As Pedro Sorrentino, an investor, aptly put it, "If you don't guard your time, people will steal it from you." Saying no becomes a strategic tool to protect our most valuable asset.

  • 2. Eliminating Distractions and Focusing on Productivity

Saying no to distractions is crucial for maintaining focus and maximizing productivity. When we broaden our definition of saying no to include any form of distraction, we create a clear path towards achieving our goals. Distractions, whether they be physical or mental, can derail our progress and hinder our ability to accomplish meaningful work. By consciously saying no to these distractions, we create space for deep work and innovation.

  • 3. Evolving Your Strategy for Success

As we progress in our careers and personal endeavors, our ability to say no becomes increasingly important. Initially, we eliminate obvious distractions and explore various opportunities. However, as we grow and succeed, our time becomes more valuable, and the opportunity cost of saying yes increases. We need to continuously raise our threshold for saying yes, ensuring that we make space for the most impactful and fulfilling opportunities. Upgrading our "no's" over time allows us to preserve the opportunity to say yes when it truly matters.

Part 2: Just Keep Buying - The Benefits of Holding On

In the world of investing, the mantra "just keep buying" encourages investors to resist the temptation to sell their investments prematurely. The only times we should consider selling are for rebalancing purposes or when we reach retirement. Holding on to our assets and continuously acquiring more is the key to future wealth accumulation. This principle is supported by the concept of the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which measures a stock's relative expensiveness. There is a negative relationship between the P/E ratio and future real returns. As stocks become more expensive, the expected future real returns decrease. However, as we hold onto investments for longer periods, the negative returns dissipate, and positive real returns become more prevalent.

The Advantages of Holding On:

  • 1. Wealth Accumulation and Capital Acquisition

By holding onto our investments and consistently adding to our portfolio, we allow our wealth to grow over time. The power of compounding ensures that our assets have the opportunity to appreciate, leading to increased capital acquisition. Selling out prematurely can hinder our long-term financial growth and limit our ability to generate wealth.

  • 2. Weathering Market Fluctuations

The stock market is often subject to short-term volatility and fluctuations. By holding onto our investments, we can weather these ups and downs and benefit from the long-term upward trajectory of the market. Attempting to time the market and selling during downturns can lead to missed opportunities and potential losses.

  • 3. Positive Real Returns in the Long Run

As mentioned earlier, the negative relationship between the P/E ratio and future real returns suggests that holding onto investments for longer periods yields more positive real returns. By resisting the urge to sell and maintaining a long-term perspective, we increase our chances of experiencing favorable financial outcomes.


Incorporating the principles of saying no and holding on into our lives can lead to significant benefits in both our financial and personal pursuits. By learning to say no to unnecessary tasks and distractions, we reclaim our time and focus on what truly matters. Simultaneously, holding onto our investments allows us to accumulate wealth and benefit from the potential growth of the market. As we navigate our journey towards success, let us remember the power of saying no and the value of holding on.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Evaluate your commitments and prioritize your goals. Learn to say no to tasks that do not align with your long-term objectives, protecting your most valuable asset: time.
  • 2. Continuously reassess your threshold for saying yes. As you grow and succeed, raise the bar for opportunities that deserve your time and attention. Upgrade your "no's" to make space for great uses of time.
  • 3. In the realm of investing, adopt a long-term perspective and resist the temptation to sell prematurely. Focus on wealth accumulation and weather market fluctuations to maximize your potential for positive real returns.

Remember, saying no and holding on are not just random concepts; they are strategies that can empower us to achieve our goals and unlock greater opportunities.

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