Saying yes to opportunity

Have you seen the Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man”?  It’s about an anti-social guy whose life was going nowhere and he had a knack for saying no to everything. One day he signed up for a self-help programme, which empowered participants to say YES to everything and anything. Even if it meant giving someone money when asked!

Unexpectedly his life began to turn around. He became optimistic about life, was promoted at work, met the girl of his dreams and embarked on adventures that were once blind to him when he kept saying NO.

What's the best that could happen?

The show might be exaggerated (that’s Jim Carrey for you) but its underlying motives are clear: opportunities do present themselves when we learn to embrace them.

Think about the times when you said NO:

  • NO to friends and family because you were too busy.
  • NO to your boss because you were afraid that you couldn’t handle the job.
  • NO to an outing because you were too shy to socialise.
  • NO to a task because you believed it impossible.

The more doors you close, the more narrow-minded you become. Once you accept things as they are and approach everything as a chance to learn, you will realise that life is abundant with opportunity.

For extroverts, saying YES might be something that you do on a daily basis. However here are some tips for those who want to develop this YES attitude:

Start small
In the beginning, you don’t have to say yes to big commitments or over-the-top requests. Start small by eating something you’ve never tried or watching a movie you would never have agreed to.

Do it weekly
Try something new every week. To change your mindset, you have to make it a habit. Set one day in the week and do something you normally say no to. If you keep at it consistently, it will become second nature.

Always be in question. What is the worst that can happen? Why do I not want to do this? What is stopping me from proceeding? Usually the pros will outweigh the cons. Learn to overcome the fear and just go for it.

Afraid to try?

Learn from mistakes
Have you heard this quote? “Good judgement comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgement.” We often let the fear of the unknown paralyse us so much that we would rather not try or do anything. Recognise that failures are not the end of things. Pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes.

So… what do you say?


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