With my own children now at primary school age, I realize the importance of them learning some key lessons that should hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

One of these lessons is learning what “no” means. It’s incredible how many adults I have met who still do not know what “no” means. Somehow they simply did not learn it when they were aged 5 or so. They then got through adolescence ignoring the no’s, and into adulthood they still cannot handle its true meaning.

Tell these ‘adults’ “no” and they either go bright purple, stomp out of the room shouting, carry on regardless of the ‘no’ or their head explodes, or all of the above. It’s amazing isn’t it? Sad really.

No means no. As my primary school teacher used to tell us if we did not respond immediately to the ‘no’, “Which part of ‘no’ do you not understand, the ‘n’ or the ‘o’!?” We use a variant with our two children: “Sometimes (insert child’s name here), the answer is NO”.

Teach the children well, because if they have not learnt this by the time they “grow up”, they are a real pain to deal with!

Photo credit: OneChanceFancy

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business aussiehome.com, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran reiwa.com. In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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