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On saying yes - 3 possibilities: Always yes, always no, or only when you really want to

On the topic of when to make a commitment, I recently came across two great perspectives. First, Bert Webb post Say Yes More talks about Danny Wallace's book Yes Man, his journal of saying "yes" to everything for a year (the book went straight onto my Amazon wish list). This is a wild example of the idea of using an extreme to make a point, or to learn something, and as a person who's learning the "Joy of yes," it's a great data point. Of course the other extreme is always saying "no," something that is satirized in the standard bureaucratic joke about everyone having only the power to say no, which results in nothing getting done.

Between these two strategies is the rational approach talked about in Marilyn Paul's book It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys (which I found full of good ideas) - She has five questions to ask when thinking about saying "yes":
  • Does it give me energy?
  • Am I excited about doing it?
  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Does it connect me to the people I care most about?
  • Does it help me manifest my most valued goals?
I think this is a great list because a) it's comprehensive, b) all the questions are positive, and c) it makes explicit the process of committing to something. The bottom line? Whether I pick an extreme or the middle road, I'm increasingly becoming aware of the value of being conscious about each of my commitments. I figure I have only a fixed amount of time left in the world (I just don't know how much!), so I want to be conscious about how I spend my precious minutes. As the saying goes, you can't actually manage time, you can only manage how you use it. Hopefully Paul's tests will help me get better at this.

Reader Comments (2)

I am French. Thank you very much !
It is very judicious and powerful.


November 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSerge Hourminougué

Thanks for reading, Serge.

November 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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