A discarded book that I thought would be funny turned out to be quite instructive.
|In 1996, when I was in the ballroom dance business, I attended a sales training seminar in Birmingham, Alabama. There, I received a button with the single word "Yes!" printed on it. I then listened to a man named Allen King, the head honcho of the dance studios, who urged me and all of the other instructors/sales people to say "Yes!" Whatever our bosses, customers, and colleagues asked, we were to say "Yes!" I didn't take the advice, and perhaps it is no mere coincidence that I am no longer in the dance business.
Seventeen years later, while working as an English teacher in Japan, I came across a book titled "Yes Man." The book was written by an Englishman named Danny Wallace. Since I am also a Danny and my father's mother was a Wallace, I felt compelled to pick up the book. Then, when I read the summary on the back, I was reminded of Mr. King's speech, and I began to wonder how much I have missed out on in life because of my tendency to say no.
The book is Wallace's memoir of the year he committed himself to saying yes to every opportunity, invitation, and request that came his way. As a result, he had an incredibly interesting and exciting year. He met a variety of interesting people, got promotions and job offers, traveled the world, and had a host of other unique experiences—not because he took initiative but simply because he said yes. It was a great book for a person like me who tends to say no a lot. The book is funny and inspiring, and while I am not saying yes to everything, I am trying to say yes a lot more. (Please do not respond to this essay with a request for money. Also please be advised that while this is a great book I understand it has been made into a lousy movie.)
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. I hope you enjoy them.
Thank you for reading my essay.
I'd been labouring under the impression that...I was a single man in his mid twenties, living in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Turns out I was a single man in his pants, sitting in his flat.
The people without passion are the ones who always say no. But the happiest people are the ones who understand that good things occur when one allows them to.
I had to start living life, rather than just living.
People are always saying no to things... They are frightened of change, used to routine, used to doing things a certain way.
...the people who take risks in business are the people who don't fear change and, ultimately, they're the most successful.
People do miss out on so much by instantly and unthinkingly saying No...they don't realize they're putting a real limitation on their lives...
People decide to stay home... And they miss out on a wonderful new experience.
...we seem to go to more effort to avoid trouble and pain than we do to make things better. Avoiding rather than doing.
...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.
...we don't even have control... It's a myth. In life, absolutely anything can happen.
If we have faith that some higher powers, some enlightened beings, are helping us to develop spiritually, then you begin to relate to life completely differently. ...life starts to become a little more magical. Every opportunity must be seen as a chance to learn. We have to be open to whatever happens, good or bad. ...anything that happens is a chance to increase our wisdom, and to walk further down the path to enlightenment.
...there's so much we can learn from just accepting the way we are rather than being attached to the way we'd like to be.
...Maitreya [is] a red herring. ...we [can] meet enlightened beings every day--if we just [look] out for them. The ordinary [can] be magical.
Take the stupidest thing you've ever done...at least it's done. We can all learn from our mistakes, and heal, and move on. But it's harder to learn, or heal, or move on from something that hasn't happened.