Do you remember the 2008 film Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel? It’s one of my favourite films – not because it’s a cinematic masterpiece or contains an Oscar-worthy plot, but due to its powerful message. If we can take one thing away from this movie, it’s about the importance of opening ourselves up to the world of new possibilities, i.e. the power of saying yes rather than no.
Too often, we see opportunities pass us by because the negative part of our mind alerts us to everything that could go wrong. It hammers the “what if” into a “hell no”, and what initially seemed like a good idea turns into the worst possible thing you could do. But it’s stupid. It’s our self-defeating pattern of thinking that’s pulling us back into a sea of mediocrity and not allowing us to fulfil our infinite potential. It’s infinite, I tell you!
When that dumbass voice tells you to quit, you need to slap it back into place. If you’ve got nothing to lose, why not try at the very least? To give you a personal example, I’d never worked on a film script that I knew for a fact was actually going to happen until Frank. When the opportunity to collaborate on this project presented itself, I took it before I could stop myself from saying no. The moment I said yes, though, I was terrified; however, I knew that not doing it would’ve killed me and I would’ve regretted it. Considering how the final product ended up as a finalist in the competition and was screened at an international film festival, I think it turned out pretty okay in the end.
Let’s be honest: how many decisions have you made which are life or death? The chances are you’ve been able to rectify something after you spotted it wasn’t going to work out, anyway. This shows that your intuition is just fine and you should trust that gut feeling to tell you if something is working or not. I guess what I’m getting at is that you need to trust in your own ability and know that nothing’s permanent.
All things considered, saying yes doesn’t mean being a sucker to opportunists, either. I’ll never forget the day when this one guy tried to convince me that I should write his entire screenplay about hammerhead sharks for him (for free, naturally), because his cousin’s cousin knew some other guy who served coffee to Steven Spielberg. This was a moment when an immediate no would’ve sufficed, but I heard his proposal and suggested my own. Let’s say we parted ways amicably and never spoke about it again.