Thursday, 22 October 2015

How Learning to Say "No" Changes Everything

For the past one month or so, I have met five insurance agents to check out the quotes offered by different insurance companies. The first trigger point that caught my attention was the realisation on my need to be covered financially should anything undesirable happens to me in future.

We champion the liberty to choose. The more choices we are given, the more freedom we have. But the truth is this: the more choices we are given, the more we are unable to make the best decision. I don't know about you, but I get confused by many choices opened to me. This can applies to everything under the Sun: insurance policies (which in Malaysia are almost identical all credit to strict regulation set by my beloved employer), credit cards, unit trusts etc. You get the point.

Then mental block kicks in. I can't choose. All insurance policies offered to me were almost identical. They can't deviate too much from one another, else my employer will start sending letters to warn them. I'm joking. The thing is, insurance industry in Malaysia is fairly stable as compared to the banking industry, and if one insurance company doesn't do well, it will immediately catch the attention from our fellow frontlines.

After talking to five insurance agents and a few other friends, I realised some interesting facts about the insurance agents. Insurance agents are generally salesmen/saleswomen. They want to leave good impressions for their prospectus clients. So they would try to sweet talk the clients. Offering the "best" quotes and sealing the deal is one thing, becoming a responsible agent is another. I had difficulties in trusting people, so I took extra precautions.

I was being skeptical 60% of the time.

What truly matters were the quotes, I thought. Perhaps the first one or two agents were truly important when they were explaining about the policies, but the subsequent ones started to get more and more familiar, identical and boring. Then I got troubled. I had to reject some agents. Still I waited for some extended period of time to reject because I am afraid to break people's expectation and hope. One month later.

I chose by elimination. Just like a boy who walks into a cornfield trying to pick the biggest and most juicy corn, but with only one condition - no turning back. I am the boy who have been offered some big and juicy insurance policies, and I have rejected some, thinking there may be a better one out there. Then something struck me: It is the agent that matters. Everything else is secondary.

So I have rejected some big names and one not-so-big name. I don't trust the agents enough to seal the deal. What if the agent bails out later? What if he/she just went disappear and I can only deal with the insurance company myself? Some of them are professional actors trying to emit an impression that they care for their clients. Then all types of strategies come out.

"Oh my client's baby fall sick. I have to postpone this appointment, I'm sorry." or "I have to go to the hospital now for my client who has just got diagnosed with cancer...".

I felt miserable. But then I felt liberated. I am free once again, not having to think which one to choose.

When you don't think the offer suits you, just say "No". It is way better than saying "yes" and sign something you might regret it in future. Buying insurance policy is a long-term commitment, same goes to buying a house. Help yourself to say "No".

Now I have to learn how to say "No" to a friend. She has proposed a really nice insurance plan for me. She took her time out over dinner to explain to me the offer, and was extremely patient in explaining every random question I threw at her. She has done a really good job. I was sold. I wanted her to be my agent. Except one thing... she doesn't trust me enough to reveal the insurance company's name.

"You're going to reject the offer, else why did you ask?"

Should I trust her? I don't know. Maybe I should. Maybe not. I am still beating myself for it. Whatsapp messages got ignored. Calls went unanswered. I don't know what to do. Maybe then the issue will go away. Was she not confident of herself? Or not confident of the insurance company she's selling the policy for? Actually I asked about the insurance company because then I would be able to at least tell my parents what I have subscribed myself to. It seems simple, but she doesn't trust me enough. The more she doesn't want to tell me, the more skeptical I got.

I think I will say "No". 

How often do you find yourself having to say "No"? It may not be easy for you, but you just have to do it. I once watched a video on a Korean mother trying to teach her cute baby daughter on saying "No" to random strangers when she is offered something. As easy as it sounds, it really is not. Yet it is part and parcel of life. "Just take it and go!", Russell Peters said. 

People will get disappointed, their hopes held high yet get smashed into pieces. There will be irremediable cracks. Consider yourself helping them to train their ability to accept rejections. Life is full of rejections anyway. I just got rejected for my Actuarial Unit Opening application but I accepted it gracefully. There are so much more I can look forward to. Do I feel disappointed? Yes. But I know this is not the only way. 

When one door is closed, two doors are wide opened. The door that was closed may not be right for you at this point of time, but no one knows if it will be reopened in future. Maybe it will, maybe not. Maybe something even better is in store for me. But if only we keep seeking, we will see opportunities. Opportunities are everywhere for people who never give up. I will never give up. I am still searching myself. I am open to everything comes my way. 

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