When faced with new or unfamiliar situations, it’s not uncommon for us, as human beings, to put up our defenses and say ‘no’ to potential opportunities.
“The problem with ‘no’ as a starting place is that it polarizes, prompts defensiveness, and shuts down innovation, collaboration and connection,” writes New York Times columnist Tony Schwartz.
In contrast, Schwartz says, starting with YES energizes and leads to creativity.
When we start with yes, we open doors to innovate and evolve—to imagine new business models, create life-changing technologies, and change paths in life.
“By saying yes, we invite possibility into our lives and the ability to learn what we are capable of and just how far we can go,” says confidence coach Susie Moore.
Many who’ve experienced life-changing yeses are speaking out about the power behind it. Take, for example, Shonda Rhimes, the screenwriter, producer, and author behind some of TV’s biggest shows, like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She decided to say yes to everything for a year.
In her TED talk she says, “For one year, I would say yes to all the things that scared me. Anything that made me nervous, took me out of my comfort zone, I forced myself to say yes to. Did I want to speak in public? No, but yes. Did I want to be on live TV? No, but yes. Did I want to try acting? No, no, no, but yes, yes, yes.”
“And a crazy thing happened: the very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear, made it not scary. My fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, poof, gone. It’s amazing, the power of one word. ‘Yes’ changed my life. ‘Yes’ changed me.”
The very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear, made it not scary. My fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, poof, gone. It’s amazing, the power of one word. ‘Yes’ changed my life. ‘Yes’ changed me.
Yes was so powerful for English adventurer, author, and motivational speaker Dave Cornthwaite that he created a community around it. He founded SayYesMore “to make a culture of happy, kind, yes-people normal. To help foster dreams of living and working based around passions and hobbies. To make sure we all use our time as well as possible. To take on fear and turn it into potential,” according to the website.
These examples both show how yes has the power to reinvigorate the status quo—to turn fear upside down and inspire the courage to live differently and achieve new, extraordinary things.
“Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life happened because you said yes to something,” writes author Danny Wallace in his book, Yes Man. “Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”