“Yes” and “no” are two of the most powerful words in the English language. They’re strong. They’re absolute. These are the words that decide how we experience every day of our life.
Look at that magnificient word. Short. Sexy. Straight to the point. Yes speaks to affirmation. Positivity. Commitment.
And yet, we hesitate to say yes. We often say no instead. It’s almost instinctive. A reflex. Why does NO come so easily? It’s not just other people that we say no to. We don’t only decline invitations, refuse offers, and speak negatives. We often say no to ourselves. Our ideas, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. We reject ourselves.
Let me tell you a little story about a special moment. The first time I was smacked with the realization that I’d been saying NO because YES seemed… preposterous!
I was sitting in the boarding lounge in Hong Kong at 9:00 pm on a layover waiting for a late night flight to Hangzhou, where I’d be checking in to a hotel and resting up to start work bright and early the next morning. I called up my sister who I’d be meeting the next day, and over the background noise found out that she was in Shanghai having the time of her life with her Entrepreneur’s Organization crew at the Formula 1 weekend.
“Get over here!!” she said. “There’s an after party!”
I laughed, said no, and went about my business… of sitting in an uncomfortably hard airport seat and waiting for my very boring flight. It only took about 10 minutes to realize that I hadn’t even considered the possibility of saying yes. Strange.
Just 30 minutes and $50 later, I had the airline was searching for my bag to transfer it – and me – onto a flight to Shanghai. Not 3 hours after that, I was dancing my face off with my sister Bianca, some glowing go-go dancing angels, and a huge international group of unforgettable human beings.
And after 3 hours of sleep in the car, we both made it for work at 8:00 am. Yes, we crushed it!
Let’s play a little game. Seven days of YES. I’ll be checking in and doing an update on this next week, so don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to be notified when the next blog is posted.
Are you ready?
(The correct answer was yes.)
Remind yourself to say YES.
Grab a permanent marker. Write YES on your hand. Yes, really.
“But what if it gets smudged?” That’s likely. Remove it with rubbing alcohol and write it again. Bigger this time! “People will see it!” Great. Maybe they’ll ask you about it. You may just find yourself in a position to be challenged with something you could say yes to.
Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror that says YES. And one on the steering wheel of your car. Definitely on your computer monitor at work. All of these reminders will help you break your no habit, and may inspire others to participate by giving you an interesting opportunity to say yes.
Go YES hunting.
This is not the week to stay at home and binge on Netflix. This is the perfect opportunity to put your social skills into practice, and go find YES. Get out in public. Be around people, whether you know them or not. Put your phone down and take your headphones out. Smile when you make eye contact with a stranger. Be present.
Look for opportunities to connect with the people around you, and listen. Because something will come up. A question. An offer. An invitation. Take a chance and say yes!
Struggling with finding some YES? Here’s a pro-level yes challenge: Go rent a spot in a hostel dorm for one night. Sit in the common area or the hostel bar. Talk to everyone. Backpackers are the best YES buddies!
Go on a YES date with yourself!
Yes, you can take a +1. But fill them in and get them on board, because there are no NO’s on YES day. In fact, if you have a supportive partner on your YES adventure, this may be a wonderful opportunity to learn something about what excites your companion and for you both to get some YES action in – and maybe some action action, if it’s that sort of partner ????.
Pick a day. Clear your schedule. Get in the car and fill up the tank. Don’t forget your sticky note reminder on the steering wheel. Buy some road trip snacks. Get out of the city and start driving! Did you a see a sign that indicated a town or a lookout point or attraction that caught your attention? Maybe you should go check it out. Did you drive by a restaurant or café that made you look twice? Stop and walk inside. Did you feel the urge to strike up a conversation with a cute stranger? Do it.
If you don’t have access to a vehicle, buy a one-day transit pass for yourself and head to the nearest bus stop or train station. Literally get on the next bus/train that pulls up. Get off at the most interesting stop you see. Be open to everything!
What to do when you say NO.
There is no YES police here. You’re not in trouble. But guess what? It’s not too late. Why did you say no? What if you said yes instead?
Sometimes NO is the best answer. Here’s some examples: heroin, unwanted sexual encounters, suicide pacts, etc. And of course, some priorities may – and should – prevent you from saying yes. Career. Family. Being a law-abiding citizen.
But when you feel that instinct to say no… ask yourself why? Was it a good reason? If it’s fear of engaging in an activity that doesn’t actually hold the risk of killing you, it’s probably not. If it’s social anxiety or the fear of looking silly? It’s definitely not.
Consider the possibility of yes. Yes is much more fun, I promise.
The things that happen after we say YES? They’re infinite. We have no idea what opportunity or experience lies on the other side of yes, until we step across the threshold and explore it.
I think we all need a little more YES in our lives.
When you’re fully open to what’s happening around you, you’d be surprised at what’s possible.
Guess what? It doesn’t have to end after seven days. Yes can still be a part of your life! If you found yourself short on sleep, short on funds, or in a spot of trouble with your boss after seven day of yes.. try yes on the weekends.