The power of “not yet”: another lesson from Bali

Αs you may have read in a previous blog, my solo trip to Bali in 2014 was full of inspiring insights that I still carry with me today. I learned about the power of smiling from deep within. Here I share how I was encouraged to examine the significance of the word “no”…

“Are you married?”

This was almost always one of the first questions locals asked me, for marriage and family are among the most important values in Bali. And each time, because it was true, I’d reply, “No, I’m not.”

On one occasion, I could see the disappointment in the person’s eyes. “Why do you use the word ‘no’ ?” he asked me. He was troubled that I was using a negative word.

I admit this sounded a little crazy to me, but I was struck by the wisdom in the conversation that followed, essentially a philosophy on life.

I learned that he, and many other Balinese, are reluctant to say “no” about anything their hearts desire. “You have the ability to achieve everything you wish for,” he said. “These things will be on their way if you are just open to them. Attaining these things is therefore a matter of acknowledging your potential as well as a matter of time and of effort.”

His advice? To simply say “not yet” about the things you want but do not have at the moment.

Our happiness, then, is in our hands… In rather saying “not yet”, we keep the door open to possibilities. And by focusing our attention on potential, we also empower our inner voice.

This was very different to my usual way of thinking and I found the message positive and enabling. We are being encouraged to hope and to trust that the things we desire are on their way (provided of course we put some effort into attaining them!).

So, here’s to all the things you desire that are “not yet” in your life… may they soon come!


Does this message resonate with you? In what areas of your life could you switch from saying “no” to “not yet”?

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© Vivian Chiona

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