yes moments

Saying “no” feels safe.

“No” closes off the unknown, gets us out of {more} work, and staves off relationships we just don’t want to be part of. But it also shuts the door to opportunity. We may be able to “no” our way into our comfort zones, but we're also stunting our growth (whether we realize it or not).

This is the theme for the movie Yes Man, in which a no-nonsense, home-by-six-in-bed-by-nine kind of guy goes to a self-help revival and takes on the challenge of saying  “yes” to anyone and everyone that asks. You can imagine the surplus of seemingly weird and time-consuming activities that suddenly appear in his life (photography jogging, anyone?). None of it seems related, except towards the end when a beautiful symphony of new skills, knowledge, and attitude come together to equip actor Jim Carrey with exactly what he needs when specific situations are set in his path.

All of the sudden, all of his “yes's” have made him needed, useful, and the kind of guy that everyone wants to be around.

Is saying “yes” scary sometimes? Absolutely. But this movie and my own experience show that answering affirmatively is a muscle to be toned {especially if saying “no” is practically a reflex}.

Pivotal Yes Moments in My Life

I have this uncanny need to put myself into what I consider to be challenging and stressful situations because I want to know that I can do it. Since I recently said goodbye to my 20s (it’s been real!), I am coming off of a wonderfully fast-moving, awkward, somewhat scary time of life in which you can cling to your comfort zone or you can live a little and find out what you are made of.

Well, I have found out what I am made of.

Because of this crazy need, I actually have some experiences like Carrey’s that made me question why on earth I was doing what I was doing…only to find out that there was a very good reason way down the road.

In fact, if I look back over my life so far, I can see that it is loosely strung together by a series of events in which I spoke (internally or out loud) the word “Yes”.

  • Yes to a free lunch hour seminar at work from a nearby Chiropractor, where I won a free massage at his clinic. (Result: one hour of bliss + finally getting my neck and upper back pain checked out, which led to fixing my self-imposed whiplash from years of cracking. Word of warning: don't crack your neck all the time as a youngin'!).
  • Yes to a last minute birthday party invite while studying abroad in Japan, involving a change of clothes after class, a run back to the train station in heeled boots, and a one-hour train ride. (Result: I met my future husband at that party).
  • Yes to an 11:00 a.m. call for a 2:00 p.m. tv interview that same day. (Result: a great working relationship with a local tv anchor + being featured in 8 segments + an eventual job offer).

There's a Place for “No” as Well

Now that I've come to the end of the roller coaster decade in my life where I stretched and challenged myself mercilessly before feeling a bit more comfortable in my own skin, I am realizing that “no” has a place as well. While “yes” opens up infinite possibility and potential, in order to focus on that which we choose for ourselves, we need to incorporate “no”.

‘No’ can be a powerful tool.

But you have to say a lot of “yes’s” in order to truly appreciate its part in your life. Expand and experience (yes), then focus and move forward (strategic no's).

You see one involves an action of progress whereas the other involves standing still and potential stagnation. I could have declined everything in that list above, and wow would my life had turned out differently (not to mention I'd be in pain while typing this). But I didn’t. I charged forth into unchartered territory, gaining speed and confidence each time I put myself into what the security-blanket layer of my brain would consider a ridiculous and unnecessarily risky situation. And I have thrived!

I hope that you have, and will continue to, do the same.

What are some pivotal “yes” moments in your own life?

9 replies
  1. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter
    Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    I try to say yes a lot. “Yes” led to my blog, self-employment, and traveling around the states visiting people. “Yes” led me to helping organize a part of the Financial Blogger Conference. “Yes” has led to my current friendships (and a couple of bad ones that I eventually said “no” to, but hey, can’t win them all).

  2. Money Beagle
    Money Beagle says:

    I once met a girl that I liked and she really liked me, but I wasn’t sure if I should follow through as I was nearly 30 and she was 21 and still in college. My roommate convinced me to say “yes” and I’m thankful I did, for we’ve now been married for six and a half years and have two wonderful children!

  3. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich says:

    This reminds me a little of that quote (that I’m about to butcher) where “some people see things and ask ‘why?’, I ask ‘why not?'”

    I’ve found that to be a pretty good life philosophy. And every time I’ve taken a weird leap and said “yes,” the payoff has been pretty astounding. It’s way too easy to go through life rejecting new things and avoiding the unknown, when actually, the unknown is often pretty cool.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Hi Mel!

      I’ve found that it’s difficult to say “yes” to things in the beginning, but once you get the ball rolling, it becomes an unstoppable drive. Nice quote:).

  4. NZ Muse
    NZ Muse says:

    I have probably 3 pivotal yes moments – accepting my 2nd job, which was totally a dream job, deciding to take off 2013 to travel, and this month accepting an offer for what will be my 3rd job and even MORE of a dream job.

    I like Mel’s quote above. I ask myself – will I regret NOT knowing? Will I be asking ‘what if’? And usually taking the leap is the right answer.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your very exciting yes moments with us! Where did you travel to?

      And yes, I try to live my life so that in years to come I will not have regrets. It has worked for me so far.

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