Yes Yes Yes No No No

When is an idea or decision worth saying yes to? I can think of 6 ways a decision can go:

1. Yes—I would love to do this.

For the majority of the time, these are the easiest decisions to say yes to. These are the decision’s we should say yes too, but there are quite a few situations that often make saying yes to what we love extremely difficult.

The first reason is bad timing, luck or lack of self-awareness — which I’ll discuss as #4.
The second reason being fear—which I’ll discuss as #5.

2. Yes — but you want to say no.

There are our most innocent and humbling decisions. Whether out of love, force, pity or magic, we agree, but would rather say no. As innocent as they appear, these types of decisions can quickly take over our entire lives. This the number one regret of the dying, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” It’s great to help others, but if you are only living your life by the expectations of what others want for you, you aren’t making decisions for yourself or living at all.

Sometimes we say yes, but don’t know we should have said no. This is tricky because now we’ve said yes and are beholden to that choice. If there’s an opportunity to get out of it, do it. There’s no sense wasting our time on something we clearly don’t want to do. But if you’ve backed a yes with your word and reputation, see it through. We never want to waste our time, but we also want to make sure our actions also align with our words.

There’s a version of this type of yes that I’ve personally experienced. (Well, I’ve experience all 6 of these types of decisions, but this one was a real doozie.) Sometimes when you say yes, but you don’t want to (or you eventually figure out you don’t) AND then you keep doing it anyway—out of fear or obligation etc.—then you are on a short unfortunate path to burnout. There are many flavors of burnout, but one of the surest ways to burn yourself out is to continuously do something you don’t want to do.

Eventually you hit a wall and you’re body forces you to stop. That’s what happened to me anyway. My body’s response was—“Oh, I see. You’re going to keep working at this even though you know we don’t want to? The Nerve of this guy. He think’s he’s the boss. We’ll show him whose the real boss around hear.” Don’t let yourself be steamrolled by a decision you don’t even like doing.

3. Yes — but your future self won’t.

These’s are also painful decisions, usually based around an event, agreement or project in the future. It sounds so lovely (and distant), but when the moment arrives you completely dread it to your core. Ugh! Why did I agree to this?!

The key is asking yourself what your future self would want to do. “If this thing (that I’m about to agree to) was tomorrow, would I still want to do it?

It’s great to plan for the future, but keep decision locked in the immediate.

4. No — but you want to say yes.

In essence, you wish you could say yes, but the timing isn’t right or you’ve already committed and said yes to another earlier opportunity. Decisions like these aren’t worth your time dwelling over. Stick with what’s in front of you, and keep learning about yourself and your dreams. The better we know ourselves, the more accurate we can be in our decision making.

5. No — not right now.

This is a slight variation of the last decision (#4) and again comes down to timing. There’s only so many things we can say yes too. There’s only so much time to go around. If the timing isn’t right, it’s better to say No—not right now. And try to revisit it later.

For me, there’s a million-billion things I want to learn and experiment on, but if I tried doing them all at the same time, I’d make no progress on anything (and likely go insane). This idea is often called your “not right now list”. A list of things you want to do or see, but right now you are prioritizing other things instead.

6. No — I’d rather get dirt.

Knowing when to say no might be the hardest decision of them all. But saying no is also the most exhilarating and uplifting decisions we can make. It’s easy to say yes. It’s easy to say yes to things we want to do AND don’t want to do. But it takes training and discipline to say no.

No free’s up our time.

No gives us room to think, dream and play.

No opens up more opportunities.

In a backwards, up is down, left is right sort of way, by pursuing less, we end up gaining more.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #875

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Related:

No “yes.” Either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.” | Derek Sivers

8 Ways to Say No Without Hurting Your Image | Adam Grant

Going With Your Gut

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs

Saying ‘no’ to opportunities is one of the hardest* things we face in life. (*Relatively speaking. Is it up there with facing cancer or a death in the family? No. But what we say yes and no to ultimately determine our paths in life.) But unbeknownst to most, saying ‘yes’ to EVERY opportunity is a sure-fire way to make yourself miserable. Juggling is fun. Being stretched like a rope in a game of mud tug-of-war is not.

No — as hard as it can be in the moment — should be our default when it comes to giving away our time and resources. This requires sharp instincts and agile decision making skills which we can hone through practice and having clarity in what we want in life. If it’s not something that aligns with your goals, brings value (directly or indirectly) to you and others, or brings you joy and makes you feel alive, then no is the way to go. Sometimes that means making compromises and passing on good things.

But remember why you are saying no. You are passing on good things because you have great things lined up, or currently occupying your focus. (If you don’t, then saying yes to an opportunity that comes your way might be the best option for what you have to work with. Go with your gut.)

Call it what you will — sacrifices, opportunity costs, hedging, mitigation — great things require us to say no to a lot of fun good things.

Great things require us to say no to a lot of fun and good things.

Particularly when the fun / good things distract us from our true passions and goals we ultimately want (and would like) to say yes to.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #663

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Dear Hesitant Creative Like Me,

“What if it doesn’t work?”

‘What if I invest all this time into my idea that I’m really excited about, but it doesn’t get the feedback or engagement I would like?’

‘Would all my time invested matter?’

‘And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?’

 

Dear hesitant Creative Like Me,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I completely understand how you feel.

I was running through the same thoughts when I started my clothing company boldsheep.com (@boldsheep) and when I started this very site.

‘What if no one buys anything from me?’

‘What if nobody reads or comments on my blog?’

And you know what?

Nobody did.

Nobody bought any shirts, nobody read my posts. Nobody was listening.

(And mom’s don’t count)

Even though I implicitly told myself I wouldn’t, I made every mistake in the book.

Fffffff…

But here’s the thing: It was worth it.

Every mistake, every problem, every failure has made me a better and more capable person. 

What if it doesn’t work? It probably won’t. Do it anyway.

Ask yourself, ‘would I rather try and fail or would I rather not try and be exactly where I am now?’

Failure is not an end-point, rather a turning point. It’s Life telling you that your idea needs some reworking and tuning.

What about this worked and what didn’t? What can I change to earn more engagement? How can I do this better next time? Okay that sucked. What went wrong, and how can I avoid it?

The biggest lesson I can give you about starting something is its okay to fail.

If your idea doesn’t work. Keep going. Keep pursuing your dream.

Every good endeavor needs to be honed and crafted.

Reinvent, rework, redesign, pivot, tweak, ask, hone, step back, leap, tack, sprint, redefine..

Do whatever you have to make your idea and yourself better.

And if you must start over with a new idea, take what you learned on your last project and use it to your advantage on your next one.

When it comes to building an audience, focus on helping one person. Focus your efforts on impacting just one person who’s your ideal customer / client.

Because each additional follower count you gain is a person on the other end. Someone you might be able to impact.

 

‘And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?’

That’s a good problem to have. It means what you’re doing is working and having an impact.

Stay honest. Ask for help. Let your audience know. Remember, Vulnerability is Relatability.

Things to note and live by:

  • Every single person who made something wonderful started where you are — at the beginning.

On the ground. figuring out things. failing forward. stepping out of their comfort zones.

  • Continuous action creates continuous opportunities.

what you do will have create far greater value to you than what you don’t do.

  • No is better than maybe. 

Don’t rely on a maybe. Don’t let your life be controlled by ‘some day i will…’

Everything that you want to do, is still in your head, not on the page. And what you should or could do won’t get you anywhere you want to go. 

Everything you can do will change your life for the better if you decide to act on it.

  • Train yourself to think of the positive possibilities, instead of the negative outcomes. 
  • In the end, all the setbacks, frustrations and pains are worth it.

Just because you might fail, doesn’t justify saying no to the good you’ll give to the world if you say yes instead.

I personally believe you are capable of making your dream a reality.

you should too. Once you do, you’ll be on your way.

Remember, today is the best day to start.

I hope this helps you, if it doesn’t I’ll try again.

#KeepPursuing, Don’t Quit Your Day Dream — Josh Waggoner | Feb 3rd 1.30PM EST, Chattanooga TN | Updated Fed 6th

 

If this article helped, let me know in the comments below, or via email: josh@renaissanceamanlife.com.

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related wisdom

Book: Start. Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff

Book: Will it Fly by Pat Flynn

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.

— Napoleon Hill

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

— Seneca