Yes or No.

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


How to Make the Most of Monday

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on October 22, 2007
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monday morning.

I’ve never really loathed Mondays as much as others do. Sundays always got to me more, with their miserable promise of the Monday to come. Still, as an enduring symbol of misery for most, it makes sense that David Cottrell has created a self-help publishing empire based partially upon the dread of Mondays, with titles such as Monday Morning Mentoring and Monday Morning Communications.

It was Monday Morning Choices that eventually made its way across my desk and, despite an initial sense of scorn for its feel-good, pop-psych title (yes, I am a book snob obsessed with self-help), I was soon won over. Reading like a collection of motivational posters, each chapter in Cottrell’s book focuses on a different strategy for life-changing positive thinking.

Though many of the lessons scattered throughout this book may seem of the no-duh sort, sometimes, it’s just nice to be reminded that:

  • You shouldn’t fall prey to a victim mentality. In the end, it’s your response to the events in your life that determine the ultimate outcome. In short, stop whining and take some action.
  • You shouldn’t waste too much time thinking about what you want to do, or someday will never come. I will invariably set myself down beside my husband, a wistful look in my eye, and say “I need to take an online photography course” or “I need to start up that blog of mine so I can begin my journey toward world media domination.” He always cuts me short. “Stop talking about it and just do it,” he’ll snap, sounding for all the world like a Nike advertisement, except more impatient than inspirational.
  • If you’re truly dedicated to a cause or goal, you shouldn’t let the minor setbacks throw you off course. Rather, you should take this golden opportunity to learn from your mistakes and, for the love of god, never commit the same ones again.
  • Creating a network of like-minded folk will always pay off in the end. Whenever I attend a networking event, I’m put off by the people who so quickly lose interest in a conversation once they realize you have nothing to immediately offer them. The scent of desperation lingers over them, and they often come off as real-world versions of Internet spam. When you build up a personal or professional network, it’s only a matter of time before you both get the chance to help each other. And in the meantime, it’s nice to have someone else to commiserate and bullshit with.

This book pubs in the new year. Grab yourself a copy then, if only to have it handy when you need a quick hit of inspiration.