The big question is whether you’re going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure…the adventure of the hero – the adventure of being alive. ~ Joseph Campbell
Why is saying “no,” even to those we love best, so easy to do? Why is saying “yes” so difficult? The questions: “What about me, what about what I want?” appear to be embedded deeply within us, even in the best of people. When we’re asked, “Will you do me a favor?” the response quite often is some variation of, “It depends on the favor, what do you want?” It’s as if we’re afraid that by saying “yes,” we may lose something or that the cost will be too much for us to bear. Maybe we fear committing to something we really may not want to do; so, “it depends,” gives us the leeway, or time, to come up with an excuse to back out – just in case.
Is anything wrong with that thinking? Many teachings and sayings of cultures and religions are in apparent opposition to that notion. Examples include biblical quotes such as “Give and it will be given to you,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Despite these teachings, we frequently don’t operate that way. We apparently live in the time of me; perhaps this is how people have always behaved.
Certainly, many people take the idea of saying “yes” too far – people-pleasers. That’s an extreme. I’m talking about the rest of us.
I see two problems with hedging, with saying anything other than “yes.” The first appears minor; When we say “maybe,” we give the other person the message that “no” is a possibility. But, unless you’re dealing with a bully or someone out of touch with reality, the person is already aware that “no” is a possibility. Saying “maybe,” only underscores the fact. Saying “yes,” on the other hand, encourages and strengthens the relationship with that person. You are, in effect, saying: “You’re important to me and I’m confirming this by saying ‘yes’ without any need of explanation from you. Just tell me what you want.”
The second problem with hedging is that it’s protective where protection is unnecessary. When you say “yes,” you’re saying to yourself and to the other person, “I’m not afraid; I can take care of myself. I’ll give you what you want because I have confidence in myself that I have it to give and I’m willing to give it. It truly won’t cost me. If you ask something I can’t give or choose not to give, I’ll tell you and perhaps help you in some other way.” In other words, saying “yes” empowers you and builds confidence in yourself that you’re abundant and responsible.
Say “yes” today; you’ll be stronger for it; you’ll be the hero of your life.
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Learn to Say Yes to the Adventure of Life – be the Hero – Article © 2009
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. ~ Robert Frost
Every now and then, someone writes a book, prophesies a future, or reveals a truth of nature with startling insight and pristine clarity – books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the prophets Moses or Edgar Casey, the revelations of atomic theory, forgiveness, relativity, or the unity of life and the universe. In a rush to maintain our notion of reality, we frequently vilify the messenger; later, people see the truth of the message and … the world changes.
The point isn’t about changing the world; it’s about changing ourselves. In “Selections from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,” author Andrew Harvey says, “We are all heading into a whirlwind of catastrophe, war, heartbreak on the one hand, and, on the other, of unprecedented opportunities for real transformation, on a massive, world-altering scale.” Isn’t that what humanity has been experiencing for millions of years? We will continually face war, pestilence, and destruction on the one hand, and, on the other, the possibility of peace and transformation. That’s not news; it’s reality; and it’s not going to stop happening – ever! It’s change and evolution. We make a mess of life and then make it worse, or we learn and then make it better. Life happens and we screw up, or not; and then it happens again; each time we’re on the threshold of heroism, villainy, or cowardice. We have choices to make.
The point isn’t what happens on the world stage; the point is, “what are you, personally, doing with your life?” The real message of the great men and women of history is not so much what they discovered, but the lives they led that opened their hearts and minds to those secrets. We each have within us that same spark of eternal wisdom patiently waiting to be ignited. Yes, life can be cruel and merciless; but it is also nurturing, benign, and lavish. In “War of Art,” Steven Pressfield presents us with “a rogue’s gallery of” evils lurking within each of our minds to sabotage our every attempt to take life by storm the moment we take a single step in that direction. His word for these evils is “resistance.” The endless list includes resistance of addiction, procrastination, drama, and self-doubt. The truth is you can overcome them; but to do so you must be the warrior – vigilant, diligent, and bold. Then, and only then, do you taste the sweet nectar of the life of the hero. You will make dozens of choices today. Each one will serve either your passion, the life you were meant to live, or fear.
What are your dreams? Are you living them? Do you want to be the singer in the band, run a marathon, own a bed and breakfast, take a year-long trip around the world, have six-pack abs, or be an interior designer? It doesn’t have to be an opus to change the world, but it has to be your opus. You have to work hard at it, that’s what it means to be the warrior. Are you telling yourself a story right now about how this is a nice idea, very poetic, but not reality? That’s Resistance! Fight it! That’s what the lives of Christ, the Buddha, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Aristotle were about. Daily, they fought the evil in their minds and, more importantly, they defeated it. They were authentic, they were true to themselves, and they were warriors. Take the road less traveled, live your opus, be the warrior.
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Change the World – Change Yourself & Live Your Dreams – Article © 2009
Bhagavad-Gita (from chapter 2)
Hell has three doors: lust, rage, and greed. These lead to man’s ruin. Therefore he must avoid them all. He who passes by these three dark doors has achieved his own salvation. He will reach the highest goal at last.