Remember that “Yes Challenge” I took a couple of weeks ago, where I was supposed to say “Yes” 70 times a day for 7 days? Well, I did it, and I learned four things …
1) Saying Y-E-S seventy times a day is H-A-R-D. Seventy is a lot! With that quota hanging over your head, you don’t just wait for opportunities to frame yes-friendly responses, you have to actively engage the yes, imagining something you want to do in your life and then repeating to yourself over and over, “Yes. I can.” “Yes. I will.” “Yes.” “Yes.” “Yes.” Your own little pep talk, several times a day. If one is so inclined, one can even write “yes” seventy times on paper, with a full sentence explaining the declaration, as in “Yes, I can finish my novel.” But this One was not so inclined. I don’t enjoy pen and paper. I suppose I could’ve typed it, but I didn’t. I went with the mental pep talks. Kind of exhilarating, if a bit awkward at first.
2) Making 70 ticks on an index card to keep track of one’s 70 yeses is even harder. That’s what I did the first two days, in an effort to understand how many times I could say yes in a day without mental pep talks or lists of sentences. Establishing a baseline, as it were. But to pause and pull a card from your pocket to make a hash mark that many times a day is inconvenient and often plain impossible. Writing on index cards while you’re driving, anyone? Uh, no. And the number of times that pen fell out of my pocket…. After Day Two I quit ticking cards and just aimed to say yes a lot. Which led to those mental pep talks.
3) I’m far more positive thinking than I thought. Not that I considered myself a pessimist, but I did feel there was room for improvement. Only, focusing on the word “yes” made me realize that while I don’t actually say “yes” all that much, I do utter (or type) a large quantity of positive things to both others and myself in a typical day, and I supplement those utterances with nods and other physical encouragements. This was a lovely realization because my ultimate goal with this challenge was to put myself in the most positive frame of mind. For just as my husband tells my sons “it’s just nice to be nice”, I believe it’s nice to think nice. And positive. You’re happier, you’re more productive, and you’re more likely to take risks because you think you’ll succeed when you try. Which leads me to number 4…
4) Telling myself “yes” when others say “no” can land you a book contract. No joke. I got the contract offer on the last day of the Yes Challenge. I’m not at liberty to announce the project yet, but the point is, I said, “YES, I can do this” (and variations thereof) to myself enough in the past few months to blow the Yes Challenge’s official “70 times a day” quota out of the water. Along the way, that attitude convinced others and I got a big ol’ “Yes!” back at me from a publisher. Further proof of the power of positive thinking. Yes!!
So there it is, the “Yes Challenge” as conducted in a completely haphazard and unscientific way by one mom/writer/editor. So, do I declare the experience a success?