The Simple Art of Saying Yes

By Hannah Bohn

by Ece Yavuz

Do this to get that. Go here to get there.

This is the redundant system that many of us fall victim to in modern society. We consume ourselves in what comes next while marking checks off an infinite row of empty boxes. We have heard it all before: “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” However, in this accelerating, hyperactive frenzy of getting ahead and pushing forward for bigger and better, we occupy much of our time feeling concerned with what we don’t have and what isn’t enough. “The journey” has shaped into a blur of agenda setting and perfectionism.

In the meantime, we are genuinely missing out on the world around us as we strive for more.

The notion that we must fulfill various tasks and reach certain points in life before we can actually do what truly interests or excites us neglects the beautiful opportunities around us to experience and enjoy. We chase success and achievement in whichever forms they appear to each of us under the pretense that we cannot fall behind, and society normalizes this behavior.

When embodying this confined mindset, we are less likely to step outside our comfort zone and reshape our boundaries. We tell ourselves that we must stick to the status quo, often making excuses for the reasons we don’t try new things or deviate from the standardized path.

There is an art to the word “yes”. In a world cluttered with “can’ts” and “shouldn’ts”, it is easy to get caught up in the motions and convince ourselves that the unknown should be avoided— at least until we get to a convenient place in our career, social life, or relationship.

Neglecting the unknown is the same as existing in a state of absence from what life has to offer, and in turn we fall short in areas of personal growth and learning. This can be seen most popularly through our hesitation to do things like travel to new places on the map, telling ourselves that our lives must look different first.

The “eventually” morphs into “never”, and we become imprisoned by our own uncertainty and unforgiving tendency to wait. The day to day structure that we chose for ourselves can very well become the catalyst to our individual defeat.

We must shift our focus away from obsessing over lists and expectations and give way to the present moment.

We often make up narratives for the people we see actually doing the things we really want to do — like those who travel often— claiming that they must be different from us in some important way. We make up stories in our head about their flexible circumstances or their feasibility, telling ourselves that those people must have already gotten through whatever it is that holds us back.

The truth is that the actions we make for the purpose of creating change in our lives and indulging in fresh experiences are simply choices. We say yes and no to different paths, and those who choose to act on behalf of what truly makes them happy do not necessarily have more figured out than those who are still waiting for the right time to arrive in order to pursue their desires.

The “yes” mantra is simply a way for us to think more deeply about what we want and analyze whether or not our daily life reflects this. Opening our mind to alternative activities, job offers, or relationships we may have previously said we were not prepared for is an easy way to find out more about ourselves and our surroundings.

Let’s detach from our self-confining standards, put an end to our dependence on comfort, and say yes!