3. It is Easier to Say “Yes” than “No”


Why one letter makes a big difference.

A friend recently confided in me that he is toiling with leaving his job. Although he works for an amazing company the function of his job isn’t what he wants it to be and the long hours are leaving him burnt out. With two year already clocked, his father’s high praises, and the elite name of this company, he feels compelled to stay. To add the pressure of time to an already difficult decision, he was just offered a position at a new company.

When talking through his options, my friend stated that it would just be too hard to say No to staying with his current company. He said that he is such a people-pleaser and would hate to let his team down. My rebuttal was that either way he would be saying No to and letting down one of the companies. If disappointment is unavoidable, why not go for what you want? Why not say Yes to yourself?

Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, I decided to start my own. Over half way through my year, I have learned one crucial fact: it is easier to say “yes” than “no.”

In her book, Rhimes talks a lot about how No is the safer and, in her mind, easier option. I don’t see this to be true though. As a natural-born people-pleaser, I get a lot of pleasure from giving people the answer they want to hear, and what I find is that people want to hear Yes.

No comes with an excuse. No is “I would if I could, but I can’t” or “sorry, but…” No is a disappointment and No is letting someone down. No is safe.

Yes, on the other hand, is simple. Three letters, one syllable, and no excuses. It is even phonetically uplifting!  Yes is a promise. Yes is a new challenge or opportunity. Yes is a mystery. Yes might be the worst decision ever, but at least you tried. Yes is a new story and a step to becoming a more interesting and accomplished person.

What Yes has given me over the past eight months:

  • Eleven trips to seven different states
  • ~30 new friends and reconnections to ~15 old ones
  • A party with Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr
  • Hairless armpits
  • Taking off an airplane
  • Shooting an AR-15
  • Three weeks of studying for a 4-hour GRE test
  • Seeing 18 musicians in concert
  • My start as a published writer
  • A leather jacket
  • Driving a Maserati on the roof of Disneyland
  • Seven extra pounds (maybe I said Yes to a few too many danishes…)
  • A two-week tour of eight European countries (which I am on now!)
  • A renewed sense of happiness

And that is just the beginning for me. If only I had known before how sweet it is to say Yes.


Where has Yes led you? Let us know below.


5 thoughts on “3. It is Easier to Say “Yes” than “No”

  1. Hi Tess! It’s so funny reading your blog sometimes because it feels like what’s going on in your life is going on in mine. I watched Shonda Rhimes’ TED talk a few months back and was inspired myself! However I’ve let the lesson slide to the back of my mind since. After reading your post I think I’m going to revisit this whole saying “yes” business and see where that takes me. Hope you’re enjoying Europe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Pamela! Truly is very funny how timing can aline for two strangers! Keep pushing the limits of your comfort by saying Yes and let me know where you end up! Thanks for reading and commenting! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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