Some time ago I was on a management course which looked at leadership skills and getting the best out of the people around you. I remember that all too often people are quick to answer “no” without due thought – principally through past experience, current pressures, opinions of the messenger (language – verbal or otherwise) or just not being bothered to carry out a task. The thought was that if you start from a position of “no” it is incredibly hard to convince yourself that the idea is worthy or right because you have immediately dismissed it – even if it is the right thing to do.
The idea behind coming from an initial position of saying “yes” means you have to go through the process to convince yourself it is wrong. And as a result of starting from a positive place, you think through the possibilities and open up to opportunity. So for example whilst the initial idea may not bear fruit, off-shoots and tangents may come to the fore. So I tried it for a day.
It started first thing in the morning. My eldest son is hyper from the moment he wakes up – wanting to make things, do things and play games. Bleary-eyed in the morning, especially from broken sleep from the new baby, usually warrants with a “no we’ll do it later” in the hope he’ll forget. The result: he sits in front of the TV all morning.
So going into the morning determined to say yes, he decides to ask, 10 minutes before we leave for school, whether he can put music on. So I say yes (if he puts his uniform on), and we have a little boogie. This actually energises me and I feel great! Then he gets out our little one’s blow-up ring and asks me to blow it up (FIVE minutes before we are supposed to leave!!), so I do it and we put the baby in it. He then goes off to get our bag of balls and empties them into the ring. Usually I would have been annoyed and furious, but instead the place is happy – because baby is grinning and giggling like its the best thing ever and eldest is having a whale of time.
So fair enough we left, and arrived, a little late but it was so insignificant compared to the enjoyment we had and positivity we had. Those where the best things that happened that day. Other things that happened:
- Drank about 6 cups of tea (usually I have one) at work. Colleagues haven’t asked me since.
- Walked 10 minutes to a meeting when someone asked if I could come over to them (despite being incredibly busy). The 20 minute round trip cleared my head and set me up for the rest of the day.
- Read three stories at bedtime after he asked for one more, in which the third he cuddled right up to me.
- Did a double night-shift after baby kept waking up, and fell asleep on the sofa with him for the first time – and we both woke up together looking at each other.
Disclaimer: I didn’t tell anyone that I was saying yes on this day. Otherwise my wife would have had a field day, and my wallet would have taken a beating. Lots more things happened at my work – unfortunately I can’t write too much due to strict guidelines on social media.
So all in all a very positive experience. Going forward I’ll be more conscious about starting with an outright yes, before submitting to an outright no (within boundaries of course), and we’ll see where life takes me.
Try it yourself and let me know how you get on @jelly_wobbler.
Some interesting things I found on the subject
- To boost you potential, try saying “yes” more often – lifehacker.com, Adrian Savage.
- The Power of Yes: A simple way to get more out of your life – Get Rich Slowly, JD Roth
- Yes Man (film) – I hadn’t heard of this Jim Carrey film before tonight. I’ll watch it.
- Yes Man (book) – the above film is based n the Danny Wallace book. I’ll read it
- Straight to Yes – this book tells you how to get people to say Yes to you – Haider Imam