“I have enjoyed life a lot more by saying “yes” than by sayings “no”.” — Richard Branson
It was screenwriter Sidney Howard of Gone with the Wind who stated, “One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”
The magic of ‘yes’ marks the juxtaposition of something gained and lost in the moment of choosing.
By acknowledging ‘yes,’ we recognise the power in those three letters to give life to our desires.
Often we reject opportunities that can have a life-changing effect. It is our fears and insecurities that limit favourable conditions finding their way to us because we fixate on these disempowering states.
What if there’s a better approach?
What if it involved flicking the switch from saying ‘no’ to ‘yes’?
The word ‘yes’ is energising and has a metaphysical relationship tied to movement and energy. In comparison, ‘no’ denotes inertia, motionless and fixedness.
‘Yes’ is action orientated while ‘no’ is averse to action because its active power is impermanent.
There’s an episode in the sitcom Seinfeld titled: The Opposite in which the character George Costanza realises that throughout his whole life he’s been making the wrong decisions. In discussing his dilemma with his friend Jerry he is told, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”
This sets off a realisation to do the complete opposite of what he would normally do. He orders the opposite of his normal lunch and introduces himself to an attractive woman who orders the same lunch, saying, “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.” Much to his surprise, she is impressed and agrees to date him.
Whilst I acknowledge a comedy sitcom is far from the real world, I invite you to think in opposites.
What if instead of saying ‘no’, you embraced the magic of ‘yes’?
We often say ‘no’ to conditions out of our comfort zone due to our unworthiness or ability to seize the challenge. Leadership experts recommend we say ‘yes’ to opportunities then deliver on our commitment.
Most people however prefer to line up their ducks before carrying out the task.
‘Yes’ can be life transforming, since it unifies our desires and deepest intentions.
“Whatever comes your way, accept it as it is and appreciate it for what it contributes to your life — say “yes” and “thanks.” When you believe that everything has a purpose and that you’re here to learn lessons, then this attitude is a natural outgrowth,” affirm authors Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom in The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence.
“Saying ‘yes’ means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.” — Susan Jeffers
Consider life akin to a maze, with doors that unlock when you say ‘yes’ to opportunities. ‘No’ interrupts the process of life, because we reject the miracles in those tiny pockets of possibility.
Did you know that by the time you reach adulthood, you would have heard the word ‘no’ repeated 50,000 times?
In comparison, the word ‘yes’ is heard 7,000 times. It is no wonder self-criticism weaves its way into our psyche. We are notorious for falsifying inaccurate tales about ourselves.
Indeed, during our formative years we are exposed to ‘no’ because it depends on our survival. Yet, it becomes embedded in our subconscious and we cease taking risks.
Playing it safe diminishes living a fulfilling life because we block opportunities.
We must break from a survival mentality and advance toward empowering thoughts if we aspire to transform our life.
In their book The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan state, “Your talent and abilities are limited resources. Your time is finite. If you don’t make your life about what you say yes to, then it will almost certainly become what you intended to say no to.”
Let me be clear, affirming ‘yes’ is an inner declaration to be receptive to life.
The magic of ‘yes’ energises mind and body and allows us to be sympathetic to the conditions that surround us.
The late Japanese author and researcher Masaru Emoto is well known for his books and research into the effects of human consciousness and water. In many experiments he exposed water to various words ranging from hate to love and observed their molecular composition under magnification. He noted hate formed a deformed structure while love showed a perfect and symmetrical structure.
Given that up to 60% of the human adult body is composed of water, physiologically speaking ‘no’ has the potential to impact our physiology. It was Candace Pert, an American neuroscientist, who said, “Your body is your subconscious mind.”
When ‘no’ becomes embedded in our psyche, it infects our thoughts and behaviour so we ignore potential opportunities for fear of failure. We become habituated in a destructive cycle and are powerless to take action.
In contrast, ‘yes’ triggers interest within ourselves and others and is the meeting place for fresh opportunities.
The magic of ‘yes’ is liberating because it encourages us to conquer our doubts, fears and insecurities. Like most things, the more we practice, the more we encounter opportunities when we least expect it.
To appreciate the magic of ‘yes’, commit to new opportunities at least twice a week. Build up over time and notice the difference as you embrace life.
Our proclamation of ‘yes’ also signifies accepting undesirable conditions. Knowing an ideal outcome awaits us around the corner, we can say ‘yes’ to a speeding ticket or being laid off from work.
“Courage is your compass. It illuminates your path,” states author Sean Patrick in Awakening Your Inner Genius.
I leave you with comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s advice to George Costanza, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right” and encourage you to say ‘yes’ to life with openness.
Afterall, it may be the very thing to set your life on track.
Originally published at medium.com