“Saying ‘yes’ to life, even in its strangest and hardest problems.” ~ Frederick Nietzsche
“One of the most effective means for transcending the ordinary and moving into the realm of the extraordinary is saying ‘yes’ more frequently and eliminating ‘no’ almost completely. I call it, saying ‘yes’ to life.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Harken back to the carefree days of elementary school. You sit nervously in class and tap your pencil at your chin. You are not trying to work out the latest arithmetic problem. But instead, you are trying to excavate and craft the right words to ask your unsuspecting crush if they like you. While you try to work out the correct balance of enthusiasm and cool that you can inject into your words, you settle upon the following:
“What’s up? Do you like me? Circle YES, No, maybe.”
Notice that “yes” is capitalized in order to lead the witness, as it were. While the answer “maybe” at this age was almost as good as “yes,” as it indicated a cautious affirmation, you were completely thrilled by a good old- fashioned clear-cut “yes.”
Saying “yes” to life is something from which we as adults can sometimes stray. While I, myself, would like to think I am more aligned with the perky enthusiasm of a Kanga or Roo from the Winnie the Pooh series, I have so often been told I am much more similar to Eeyore. Eeyore is the pessimistic and gloomy stuffed donkey from the pages of Winnie the Pooh. He is always quick to point out the trials and tribulations of life. But let it be known he always appreciates his friends trying to perk him up, and he is reliable. Eeyore isn’t so bad, but one could argue Eeyore isn’t living life to the fullest.
My wife recently turned to me and said, “You should say ‘yes’ more often.” What?! I have been known to say “yes” to saving money or to second helpings of coffee ice cream. How dare she!
But, in fact, what she was trying to convey, of course, was that I needed to live a little.
As parents, sometimes we rely on our favorite words, “no,” or even “maybe,” almost automatically. Let us be honest—“maybe” is ultimately a way to procrastinate a “no” when our kids ask us for something financially or emotionally or physically strenuous.
“Dad, can I have a sleepover here in the living room with three of my friends?”
“Gosh, son, well…maybe…let’s have a think on that and discuss it later!”
You are convinced that will initiate a cease and desist to the plaintive cries for a sleepover. But children are like tiny elephants that never forget. They have a magical way of circling back endlessly to your “maybe,” when only a “yes” will suffice.
I was recently outnumbered when the subject of adding a dog to the family roster was raised. I seemed once again to be Eeyore on his own, listing all the reasons getting a dog was not a good idea (those reasons still are, in fact, true in my mind). Tigger and little Piglet (mother and son respectively) were relentless and ultimately convincing. We now have a new Golden Retriever named “Max.”
I tried to drag out the “maybe” as long as I could with the subject of a dog. It just didn’t work. My better two-thirds could see right through my tricks and wore me down. And now Max and I are pretty tight companions, even if I think he knows I initially did not approve.
But let us not always be at the ready with “yes.” There are times when a solid “no” is warranted. Ordering Prime Rib at the local greasy diner/pancake house is a time to say, “no.” If your 12-year-old asks if he can practice driving your car down the driveway, that is also a time to say, “no.” Answering in the negative is not always such a bad idea.
I will say that my wife was right about being more positive and going with the proverbial flow. Life’s roller coaster is excruciatingly fast and is chock full of opportunities to experience so much. There are times when prudence should win out, but there are so many occasions when being wide open to the adventures is wise.
What could possibly go wrong by saying, “yes” more often? You might end up as a new Winnie the Pooh character or get an adorable new puppy! Go ahead, give it a try.