But this all changes when he meets a former classmate who talks him into participating in a self-help program led by the guru Terrence Bundley. The course is entitled (of course) “Yes Man”, the basic principle being to say "yes" to new situations.
The film is intentionally comedic, in that Carl ends up saying yes to absolutely everything, which results in him being placed in some situations which would scare the hell out of me. But the end result shows Carl with a completely changed attitude and living a great new life. And yes he gets a nice girl (this is Hollywood after all).
So I thought that this was something I would give a go. No I didn’t set out to say yes to absolutely every situation, but I definitely ended up saying yes much more often. I learned a lot about myself during this process.
I learned that things will work themselves out. And this is important because saying yes comes with risks (as opposed to saying no which is often risk-free). Tina Fey said “Say yes and you will figure it out afterwards”. What a great quote. And its true. My example comes from a recent project at work when we talked as a team about the demands we were getting from others in the organisation. The obvious solution was to say no more often, because after all this would involve less work and less risk. However the conversation turned itself round to focus on how we could better manage the outcomes of saying yes. And immediately the mood picked up. We talked about ourselves as a team people liked to deal with. A team that got things done. And a team that would have the confidence to work out how to deliver that which we had said yes to. I will never forget the buzz that conversation generated . . .
I also learned another important lesson. And that is, its OK to say no sometimes. Hang on, I hear you say. Isn’t this going against the grain of the story? Well not really because the more I have been saying yes to opportunities, the more confident I have become in saying no to stuff that I know in my heart isn’t right for me. My no has a confident ring about it because I have become better at saying yes. Trust me, its hard to put into words but you will get it when you become more of a yes person.
I have definitely become a happier and more confident person saying yes more often. I have learned to have faith in my ability to work things out. And when I need to say no, it’s a whole lot better feeling . . .