I’d forgotten my pledge to spend a month trying to replace my automatic no’s with yes’s, but clearly the universe was supportive of my plan (or if not the universe, then Seth Godin, who published the following on Monday):
The coalition of No
It’s easy to join.
There are a million reasons to say no, but few reasons to stand up and say yes.
No requires just one objection, one defensible reason to avoid change. No has many allies–anyone who fears the future or stands to benefit from the status quo. And no is easy to say, because you actually don’t even need a reason.
No is an easy way to grab power, because with yes comes responsibility, but no is the easy way to block action, to exert the privilege of your position to slow things down.
No comes from fear and greed and, most of all, a shortage of openness and attention. You don’t have to pay attention or do the math or role play the outcomes in order to join the coalition that would rather things stay as they are (because they’ve chosen not to do the hard work of imagining how they might be).
And yet the coalition of No keeps losing. We live in a world of yes, where possibility and innovation and the willingness to care often triumph over the masses that would rather it all just quieted down and went back to normal.
Yes is the new normal. And just in time.
I’d spent the morning fretting over my furniture delivery, a first world problem for sure. Would the tractor-trailer make it up the street? What if it got stuck? Perhaps I was wrong to tell them it would be fine (how would I know, anyway?). Would we be happy with the quality of the stuff? What if we made a mistake? This was a lot of money. What if Joey was unhappy or disappointed and it was my fault because I pushed us toward these specific items? What if I was unhappy or disappointed?
Every one of those questions has roots in no. NO, this is wrong. NO, I shouldn’t have done this. NO, I don’t know what I’m doing. NO, you shouldn’t trust me or follow my lead because I will inevitably fail. Isn’t that sad?
I watch my son play – which in his world, is his work – and laugh or smile when he succeeds. I hear his giggle and know he’s picked up my phone one-handed, or put the spoon back in its spot, or managed to get to the blinky blinky media center. My favorite thing is that his joy is mostly internal. Sure, he hams it up when we’re watching, but he’s still happy when there’s nobody around to notice.
I do this, but for a different reason: success represents evidence that I don’t suck. How sad is that?
So, for now, I’m going to start slow. Instead of trying to say yes to everything, I’m going to ask myself, “Why not?” Remember, I’m paid to set boundaries and hold to them, so I can’t just blindly say yes, but my goal is about shifting my perspective, not necessarily my answer.
Furniture updates shortly. You know you can’t wait.