I cannot tell you how many times I have said “no” to any number of situations, ideas, or people. It seems to almost be my default answer to make sure I don’t get myself into any situation that I cannot get out of or don’t feel at the time that I would like. I want to believe that it is my go-to response for everything, and I am that person that is proud to try new things and meet new people. Maybe it is the fact that saying “yes” is a commitment. My life is always so uncertain that I don’t want to let anyone down by saying yes when along down the road something comes up and makes me unable to meet that commitment. To me, that is so embarrassing.
When I ponder it, I realize that my life hasn’t always been that way. When I was a child I wanted to do anything and everything. Nothing was off limits unless my parents said so. Want to go to China? YEaHhHh!!! As a child it did not matter to me that it cost a lot of money to get there or the political problems. It did not matter that there were people that weren’t like me. It did not matter that the plane could fall out of the sky on the way, or be hijacked, or whatever. The idea of going to China was simply awesome. I never went though.
If someone asked me as a child what I wanted to be, I am almost certain that my common response was a garbage man. It did not matter what pay they received, it did not matter that one would smell like refuse after a long day’s work. I simply loved the idea of driving a huge truck, picking up trash cans, and making a lot of noise.
What does this even have to do with saying yes? Well, would you like to be a “Refuse Delivery Route Driver” today if someone asked you? I’m going to call out the majority of you on that one, most of you would resoundingly say no almost immediately, without even a second thought. That’s the problem. Let’s just think of the good possibilities that could come from saying yes.
You have access to all the “junk” that everyone tosses out. You have the last pick of that perfectly good but old television set, the functional couch that just has a few stains, or a brand new entertainment center that doesn’t fit the more-new 60″ flat-screen. I cannot be certain, but I am sure that refuse route drivers find many more items of opportunity. Perhaps they keep all the cool stuff they find so they can pool amongst other refuse route drivers to trade what they want for what they don’t. Yet, if they never said yes to the job, they would never have the opportunity.
Going in a different direction, I was offered a job opportunity at a local pet store when I was in college. I had scholarship and grant money, and my college was paid for through vocational rehabilitation because I am a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran. I didn’t need the job. Actually, I was there to get an application for my girlfriend at the time. To be completely honest, I never was really a pet type of person. The prospect of having a little extra money while in college was my main impetus, but I had a little sneaking desire for fish.
After I took the job my main duties were customer service, stocking and receiving. However, after having to help people with getting fish a hundred thousand times, I ended up taking a particular affinity to these little beings. I studied them. I researched them. I tried the different products to see what works best to create the best environment for them. Because of these things, I became a better salesman and a better fish keeper. I eventually had a loyal following of people who would send me emails, and drive up to 50 miles from the sticks to come and see me for advice. Not the local fish store, not that college-trained fish biologist, not the internet or books on the subject. Me. It made me empowered.
The best part however, is that I came to absolutely love fishkeeping. People saw that, and when they regret that they had gotten in over their heads, or their children’s interest in fish dissipated, they came to me to just give me all their fish and equipment. Amazing! At one time, I had more than 3,000 gallons of aquariums in my apartment. When you see that mush water in a 700 square foot apartment, it really looks like a public aquarium. I love to reminisce about friends and visitors coming over and when they rounded the foyer and were met with the immense wall of water, bright lights, and dazzling fish. Every person was amazed. I only had this experience because I said yes to a job I otherwise would have never taken.
That’s why it is so important to just say yes. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it might come with growing pains. If you don’t say yes, however, the chance slips away. Most likely, you will never get that chance again. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have some new, other kind of chance that will appear, they come at you every day.
You just have to say yes.