Day #466: Learning To Say Yes

I recently finished reading Paulo Coelho’s Aleph. A truly phenomenal book I recommend. One of the quick points I took away from the book iswhat Paulo refers to when he says, ‘make a commitment’. He advocates giving away control and saying ‘Yes’.

On the face of it, that sounds ridiculous to say ‘Yes’ to everything and then figure it out later. In Paulo’s case he said ‘Yes’ whenever he was asked by one of his readers when he was visiting their country. This eventually led to how he started the pilgrimage, which the entire book is based on.

Saying ‘Yes’  sounds very reckless, Unfortunately, “No” can be more than just a word, it can also be a lifestyle. When our default posture toward anything unknown is to shrink back, hover around the perimeter, or generally opt-out, we are refusing the best of what life offers.

There are many reasons this may happen:

Fear of harm. We make seemingly wise, but subversive pacts with our self to stay safe and sound, but in so doing we miss the whole point of life. The saddest part of all of it is that the safety we seek is most often an illusion anyway. Total safety is rarely a viable option. Are you gravitating toward the safest option?

Identity protection. We would rather live with the illusion of invulnerability than suffer a possible failure. We don’t stretch so that we never have to know our true limits. (With self-awareness comes the ability to intelligently take risks and stretch to the limit of our true abilities. Self-aware people don’t need to tell themselves bedtime stories.) Are you protecting the stranger?

Love of Comfort. This grows stronger in proportion to success, which makes it difficult to tackle. The more we have to protect, the less we may be willing to try new things. When we default to the comfortable choice, we often abdicate our great contribution. Are you gravitating toward comfort at the expense of great work?

Ego. When we say “yes” we hand over some measure of control. We are submitting to a new agenda, and even if it’s one of our own choosing, we are in some way allowing the potential for things out of our immediate influence to invade our world. “No” is sometimes a form of ego, or wanting to impose our will on the world. “Yes” is a move from control to influence. Is your ego standing in the way?

Love. Yes, we may love someone or something so much that, in our attempt to protect it/them we say “no” on their behalf. The odd thing is that the most loving thing is sometimes to say “yes” even when it means surrendering our own desire/wishes. Is your love of someone/something keeping you from yes?

Living life on the edge and experiencing the abundant miracles in the universe always begins with a Yes. To create is to first say yes, then sort things out on the other side. It is to first say “yes” to the risk, then to embrace it, then to overcome it. All creations are not successful, but every act of creating begins with an act of bravery. I’ve come to treat the very act of saying “yes” as a successful outcome. If I do this enough times in a row, I know that I will eventually make something worthwhile.

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