It's a problem for a lot of us: we half-heartedly agree to too many things, leaving us overcommitted and less than excited. Entrepreneur Derek Sivers simply changed the way he said yes, and found it led to stronger decisions and more positive commitments.
Photo by Sarah Reid
Those of you who often overcommit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I'm trying:
If I'm not saying "HELL YEAH!" about something, then say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than "Wow! — that would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!" — then my answer is no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say "HELL YEAH!" We're all busy. We've all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
I was hiring someone for a long-term project. There were many candidates. I compared pros and cons. Nobody blew me away, but I felt I had to choose one of them. Instead, I said no to all and began the search again in a different way. That turned up someone absolutely amazing who is ideal and I'm psyched to be working with.
I was supposed to go to three music conferences in the next few months. They were spread out around the world and would have taken many expensive days in planes and hotels to be there. I had said yes to all of them out of habit or obligation. But I realised I wasn't feeling "HELL YEAH!" about them, so I cancelled all three. They're a little disappointed but I was able to clear off 12 days in my calendar! 12 days!! Do you know how much I can do with 12 free days? Maybe I could get Muckwork launched! Now that is a "HELL YEAH!"
I was deciding where to live. I had heard good things about Vancouver and Sydney. I was interested in Hong Kong and Florianópolis. But when I got to New York City I felt such an instant "HELL YEAH!" that I stayed.
9, 10 or 1
The surprisingly great book Personal Development for Smart People asks you to think about the different areas of your life and rate your satisfaction in each area from 1 to 10.
But after doing that, the next suggestion impressed me: it said to go through every area you rated a 5, 6, 7 or 8 — and replace it with a 1! That we should never settle for "it's not so bad" — and instead face up to what you really want.
In other words: No more "yes". It's either "HELL YEAH!" or "no".
No more yes. It's HELL YEAH! or no. [Derek Sivers]