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The Risk Of Saying Yes

I watched a bit of Yes Man starring Jim Carrey the other night. It’s a great movie on the power of saying yes. Jim’s character had succumbed to apathy. He had disengaged from life and wasn’t going anywhere. He had, in a sense, died.

We get quite used to disengaging and saying no. It’s easier, we think. We say no so often that we no longer even voice our ideas. They’re shut down before they reach our lips. Our brains quickly become trained to think ourselves right out of any sort of a “yes!’

It might be a simple thought like taking a walk, or an idea for a new business. Either way, our brains react the same – NO! What I liked about the movie was the incredible series of events that took place simply because he started saying yes (even when he didn’t want to). He encounters danger, love, friends, and community. He wakes up to life with all its ups and downs.

When we disengage with life, it shows. It comes out in some form or another – negativity, anger, depression. In the film Failure To Launch, Matthew McConaughey is stuck. Due to a traumatic event in his life, he fails to thrive. He’s still lives with his parents. Can’t commit. And, for all intents and purposes, he’s a dead end – his life is not natural.

To illustrate his unnatural state, the film has him randomly attacked by a dolphin, bitten by a lizard, and accosted by a chipmunk. The reason: he’s out of balance with nature. His apathy with life manifested a whole lot of negative.

Saying yes taps positive forces. I tested this recently. I stopped to get gas. The pump asked me if I wanted a car wash. I instantly said no. But then remembered Carrey’s film and said yes. To do this, I had to cancel the sale, which forced me to go inside to see the attendant. After a pleasant exchange, I had to guess how much I needed to spend, which was interesting.  And I had to trust that I would be credited for an overestimation.

Finally, I was squared away and a filled the tank. Meanwhile, my poor wife was sitting in the car the whole time – it was a 90 degree day. When I climbed back in she asked “What the heck took so long? I’m sweating bullets!” I smiled and said, “I said yes!” She laughed. Then we went through the car wash laughing, joking, and teasing one another. We had a good time – our moods were lightened – and the car was clean to boot.

A simple example, but baby steps are important. If we want to think big, imagine saying YES to God. What would happen?

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

Matthew McConaughey – Failure To Launch Clip


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