Saturday, March 25, 2006

Say Yes

A recurring theme in my life and this blog has been the concept of "Yes". Looking for reasons to say "Yes", saying "Yes" more, and generally creating a circuit a positive energy using this powerful word.

While it could be argued that in recent times I may have said "Yes" a little too much, I've also found that being ready to say "Yes" means being truly in the moment.

You know how sometimes you'll make a decision and then you receive some kind of cosmic signifier to reaffirm it? That's how it has been with Yes. There's a book called The Year of Yes, about a woman who says this magical word for a year to every man who asks her out. That one's on my reading list, but doesn't interest me as much as Danny Wallace's Yes Man. One day Wallace, an Englishman in his mid-20's, met a man on a bus who told him, "Say 'Yes' more." He took that advice and it revolutionized his life.

I ended up with a copy of Yes Man in a rather random and seemingly coincidental way (I'm unable to go into the details here). It was as if something placed the book in my path. I finished it a few days ago and would recommend it to anyone. Apart from being an entertaining read, it is sure to make you want to create and seize your own Yes moments.

As if that wasn't inspiring enough, just now I was watching DVD commentary for a film and came across the following:

Saying "Yes" to the instant (realizing one's wakefulness to the present moment) will give way to a chain of yeses, a system of "contagious affirmation." To say "Yes" to one instant is to say "Yes" to all of existence.

I felt compelled to pause the movie then and there, and write this post immediately.

I have a number of theories on what happiness is, but I think Yes moments have a lot to do with it. When I was eighteen years old, I traveled thousands of miles on what would become a life-altering journey. It was during this trip that I promised myself never to be in a situation where I am left wondering "what if".

Eradicating potential question marks from my life has led to some very foolish behavior, but I have never regretted pursuing my curiosity and never will. Depression is defined as "anger turned inward" but I think it also should include "marked lack of curiosity". When I was sick over the last couple of weeks and felt down emotionally, not only did I lack energy, but I lacked passion; I lacked a sense of wonder.

Right now, I feel positively electrified and filled with curiosity... Yet at the same time, I am satiated. I have faith in the notion that life gives you exactly what you are supposed to have when you are supposed to have it, and I am saying "Yes" to all of it: to my family and friends and past lovers and current solitude and every single other thing which has led to this very second.

To borrow another phrase from Yes Man:

Si a Todo.

[Translation: Yes to Everything]

13 comments:

Socially Scared said...

Wow. I like that. I definitely say "no" way too much. 1 year is a little much from the get-go...I'm gonna say "yes" for 1 month.

Thanks for posting.

Elle said...

Yes Yes Yes...love your POV here. It's amazing when people get those uber self-aware moments...it's like something 'clicks' in your brain and everything is clear. It's great when those times happen, however I think the hard part is holding on to them...

Charlie Brown said...

I have a friend who is in a No phase and I'm liking him less ans less these days.

The No is a trap. It gives you a feeling of security and comfort, but it takes away the color of your life.

Lifestyle with BG said...

Si a todo, Dolly! Si a todo!

"The people without passion are the ones who always say no, but the happiest people are the ones who understand that good things occur when one allows them to."


I love that book. It's so funny ^_^

I posted a review of it (a while ago) here, for those that haven't read it:
http://lifewithbg.blogspot.com/2005/11/yes-man-by-danny-wallace.html


Had a good weekend?

kevin said...

Ha! Yes man is a great book. His other book Join me is brilliant!

In fact, he was Dave Gorman's flatmate and co-wrote "Are You Dave Gorman?" (which I mentioned after your Dave adventures)

pawlr said...

Beautiful post. Reminded me of the movie "Being There", in that Chauncey never said "no" to anyone's desires and everyone took his silence for assent. As a result he rises from a gardner to a total D.C. power-broker.

Also anyone remember the "sex" scene with Shirley MacLaine? Hilarious.

Stretch said...

Excellent advice. I don't know if you have ever taken an improv class, Dolly, but the first thing they teach you is the cardinal rule of improv: no matter what your fellow improv actor says or does, the appropriate response is always "YES...AND." In other words, you ALWAYS validate what your fellow actor just did, then add your own unique spin to it. This process builds trust among the improvers and allows them to fully express themselves. It is also the essence of "clicking" in just about any social interaction. At one point or another, we have all endured the discomfort of trying to talk to someone who didn't understand this principle. These are the people who don't listen to what you say (often because they are too self-centered to care), and thus have nothing relevant of their own to contribute. These people are often referred to as "energy vampires," because talking to them feels like hard work.

There is an unhealthy version of "Yes," though. Those are the times when you really feel like saying "no," know that you should say "no," but don't because you fear the consequences or don't want someone to form a bad opinion of you. Ex: your boss asks you to work through the weekend for the 3rd straight weekend (a la Office Space), your friend asks you to skip a great opportunity to do something fun and exciting and do a favor for them instead, etc. You don't seem like the type who would have this problem, but I still think a more precise way of putting it is to never allow your day-to-day decisions to be based on fear.

jo said...

you're making me inspired to get outta the funk and really live life. so yes... yes to all that.

Horse said...

That book, Think and Grow Rich advises you to take things one step further and cut off any opportunities you might have to back out, once you've said yes.

I don't know if any of you have read that particular tome, but you should--it's so powerful it's scary!

Dolly-way to grab your life by the short ones :)

Dolly said...

Socially Scared,
Bear in mind that the author of Year of Yes said "yes" to the men who asked her out, not everything. Wallace, who did say "yes" to just about everything, only did so for a couple of months. Either way, I think it's a great thing to incorporate into your life.

Elle,
Yes, maintaining the positive attitude is so tricky! Then again, I think moments of self-doubt/delusion/what have you are important, too because they provide a balance. Yes/No is a kind of Yin Yang.

Charlie,
I think No is important, too. Both are powerful, but it does seem like too many people are quick to say "no" without really thinking.

BG,
How funny that you reviewed the book! I love how Wallace uses humor to tell his story but sneaks in some powerful insight as well.

Kevin,
I remember somebody recommending that book to me, but didn't know it was you! I did think it was rather coincidental that it was the same author.

Pawlr,
A similar thing happens to Wallace in that he makes great strides in his career by being open to all suggestions and opportunities.

Stretch,
Of course there's going to be a dark side to Yes, but how many people still have yet to fully expolore the positivity of yes? Personally, I try to cover all my bases with Maybe.

Jo,
Yay! I'm so glad I can help spread the inspiration. Go get 'em, tiger. Si a todo!

Horse,
I am not all that interested in growing rich, but I'll bear your recommendation in mind. As for grabbing life, that still remains to be seen, but I'm trying!

Lifestyle with BG said...

Word, one thing I heard was that it's a good idea to put empowering/inspiring statemens/pictures throughout your appartment/life. I put "Si A Todo" on my door :)

and "The people without passion are the ones who always say no, but the happiest people are the ones who understand that good things occur when one allows them to."

next to my bed, so that I'd see it every morning.

(but I moved to a different place now)

Danny also has a show in which he tries to start his own country. Pretty funny stuff, haha.

K said...

I've started on a habit of saying no. Maybe it's time I turned it around...

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