A sense of no-ing

and who are *you* to question Madiba?
In December 1997, the African National Congress held its 50th national conference in Mafikeng. During the conference, Nelson Mandela offered the following advice to Thabo Mbeki:

“Do not surround yourself with yes-men, for they will do you and the nation incalculable harm. Listen to your critics, for only by so doing will you become aware of the disaffection that ails your people and be able to address them.”

Did Thabo listen? Nooooooooo. What hit the fan? Shiiiiiiiiit.

Consequently, I take my role as devil’s advocate quite seriously. I always ensure that there is a ready supply of flies whenever the boss decides to unscrew the lid of the corporate ointment jar. It’s the least I can do.

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42 thoughts on “A sense of no-ing

  1. indeed, the most sage advice always begins with the words “Do not”. The one I always remember is: “Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?”

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  2. I take great pride in being the person that needs most persuasion – “no” is, after all, much easier to say than “yes”, because yes usually has to be accompanied by “but”, whereas no is no is no is NO! 😀

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  3. True story, I’ve always wanted to compliment somebody on their wordplay/bon mot skills. And thanks to you, I finally can.

    So here goes:

    “I love your wordplay/bon mot skills.”

    (Thanks for helping me cross yet another thing off my seemingly endless bucket list.)

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  4. Jeanpant is so right. I’d vote for you – even if you are occasionally mistaken for a Goth (It’s the black tee shirt and the huge intellect, coupled with an inability to discuss fashion, hair or shoes for more than a nanosecond). On the subject of NO – I don’t much like that word. When I was a kid my mother used to tell me “no” to just about everything I asked. When I asked her “why” she said……yes, you guessed it….”because I said so”. Now I try to avoid asking anything – in case I get a No answer – just go ahead and do what I want to and wait for the horsepuckey to hit the fan. Pretty much what I did when I was a kid – to avoid getting told NO.

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  5. “Did Thabo listen? Nooooooooo. What hit the fan? Shiiiiiiiiit.” had me laughing out loud like crazy at work.

    Which isn’t good.

    ‘Cause what I’m suppose to be doing isn’t funny.

    Why must you try and get me in trouble??

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  6. “why do you have to be so otherwise” is the exact type of language I use for disagreements with my partner. Although, if I’m feeling mighty peeved I might make it, “”why do you have to be so darn otherwise”.

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  7. Abraham Lincoln was famous for surrounding himself with his adversaries. When one of his generals complained, he said, “Better to have them in the tent, pissing out than out of the tent, pissing in.”

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  8. What langauge was Nelson Mandela speaking in that quote? I couldn’t get past that word “incalculable.”

    Does you think Nelson Mandela reads my blog?

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  9. “No” is my favorite word. I use it a lot. Sometimes that can be bad, like when the lottery people called and said, “Robin, you just won a million dollars! Would you like it?”

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