Life can get boring very quickly if you let it. Routines wiggle their way into your life and before you know it, your daily groove has dug itself into a trench. And there you are. Stuck in the mud.
Why Start with Yes?
An easy way to start filling that trench is to start with yes.
Starting with yes doesn’t mean committing to every opportunity that comes your way. That is a guaranteed recipe for overwhelm. Instead, I encourage you to START with yes. To ask yourself “what if?” Embrace the possibility of the yes.
Then, find arguments to change that yes to a no.
Reasons to Say No
Typically, when presented with new ideas, our instinct is to resist it.
“For individuals’ behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. The problem is this: Often the heart and mind disagree. Fervently.” – Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
Why go to a new vacation spot, when you’ve already found a spot that you love?
Why try something completely different in your business when you already know what “works?”
Why separate yourself from the crowd, when it’s easier to just fall in line?
In his book, The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau put together a list of eleven ways to be remarkably average.
- Accept what people tell you at face value.
- Don’t question authority.
- Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something.
- Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England.
- Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English.
- Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
- Think about writing a book, but never do it.
- Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it.
- Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work.
- Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself.
- Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.
That’s what life looks like when you start with no.
No, I can’t start my own business. It’s too risky.
No, we can’t run our business in a radically different way than our competitors. We need to be like everyone else.
No, I can’t create my own life. I need to follow the proven path to mediocrity.
But What If…..
What if you chose to just try? Nothing radical….just one small yes.
You don’t have to follow through with it (yet), you just have to consider it.
What if you commit to spending one hour a week to your art?
What if you just try something that other businesses like yours aren’t doing?
What if you start with yes?
You are the person you are today because of the choices you made yesterday. If you want to create a new life for yourself, it’s impossible to get there by making the same choices every day.
And the divot turns into a rut that turns into a swamp.
Make “No” Present Its Case
When life presents you with a new opportunity, the easiest thing in the world is to say no. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. You know this path like the back of your hand. You’ve got this.
Next time, just give yes a fair shake. Start with yes and present arguments on why you should say no.
Let’s pretend that someone has just proposed a business opportunity that sounds amazing.
This is what it looks like to start with No:
- I can’t.
- I don’t have the time.
- I’ve never done that before.
- My life is good right now. I don’t want to risk anything.
- I would have no idea what to do.
- No, thanks.
This is what it looks like to start with Yes:
- I can do this.
- If I wake up one hour earlier, I can easily dedicate 365 hours this year
- I’ve never done that before, but it would be fun.
- My life is good right now. I’d love to make it even better.
- I need to start learning more so I can start off on the right foot.
- Yes. Let’s do it!
Starting with Yes, May Still End with No
Starting with yes doesn’t actually mean yes. It means, yes…I’m going to give this reasonable thought. I’m going to dream first and rationalize later. I’m going to consider every opportunity before I toss it away.
“We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.'” – Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne, The War of Art
You don’t have to write your symphony. But I encourage you to first consider what it would feel like to put in the work and then to accomplish that goal. You don’t have to say yes right away, but please don’t blurt out “no!”
Start with yes.