Yes or No.

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on March 3, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,


Over the course of the past year, I’ve been trying to become better at saying “no.” People had been telling me that I was overwhelming and overburdening myself…taking on too much…and I couldn’t really argue. As the result of an always-hectic schedule, I was consistently tired, never worked out anymore, and had terrible eating habits. (Looking back, this is probably how I gained 30-odd pounds in the past eight months and, let me tell you, it’s harder to take off than it was to put on.)

But, very slowly, I have been learning to feel less guilty about saying no, and life has become more manageable.

But then I read Danny Wallace’s Yes Man.

So yeah. This is yet another post about yet another inspirational-type stunt-memoir.

All of a sudden, they seem to be the only thing on my to-read pile.


The premise of Yes Man is this: Danny Wallace vowed (hell, he even penned a manifesto) to say “yes” to absolutely everything for the course of a year.

And then, luckily for us, he wrote about it.

But I’m not writing this post merely because Yes Man was such a delightful read (which it was). Nay. Though this book made me laugh out loud like a loony tune several times, I’m writing this post because it also inspired me.

At first, we are treated to Wallace saying yes to the most inane and ridiculous things. (One particularly awesome running gag is his susceptibility to spam mail from a beleaguered sultan looking to transfer large sums of money.) But then, there are chains of yeses that visibly change him, giving him opportunities that heretofore he would never had, allowing to experience things that heretofore would never have entered his orbit.

At one point, the words of a hypnotist (who just happens to hypnotize people with the help of his dog), resonate with Wallace (and with the reader as well): “When you think about it, probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”

So…if your life will benefit both from learning to say yes, and learning to say no, how do you choose!?

I have the feeling that it’s perhaps best to learn to say no to the things you would normally say yes to due to feelings of misplaced guilt and/or obligation.

And it’s best to learn to say yes to the things you would normally say no to due to feelings of fear or laziness.

Got that?

Are there any points in your life that you can pinpoint where you directly benefited from saying a yes or a no?


3 Responses to 'Yes or No.'

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  1. Diane said,

    I wanna read this one too!

  2. stephanerd said,

    I loved this book to bits.

  3. Random! I *just* read Danny Wallace’s column in a free weekly magazine that gets shoved into the hands of almost every London communter:

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