How to Make Decisions to Expand Your Horizons and Life

YesNoHave you ever noticed that inertia often keeps you from doing things?

Do you sometimes find that you don’t do things because you’re uneasy about them?

For many — even most people — the natural tendency of inertia combined with a sense of fear keeps them from taking advantage of many wonderful opportunities that come their way.

Advice For Generations

Many years ago, my father gave me some advice about making decisions that has shaped much of my life. The other day, my daughter told me that she uses my father’s decision-making advice all the time. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Say YES unless you have a good reason to say NO.

This advice does something subtle, yet effective — it resets your default response to the affirmative.

When faced with a decision, start with the belief that you’ll do it.  Then consider seriously the consequences to make sure there’s nothing important that’s stopping you.

Inertia and Fear are NOT Good Reasons to Say No

Sometimes there are good reasons to say no. When there are, “no” makes sense. But if you can’t come up with any valid reasons, then despite your inertia and anxiety, simply say YES!

So what does constitute a good reason to say no?

Once you practice making your yes/no decisions by starting with YES, you’ll be able to easily recognize good reasons to say NO.

They vary from person to person. What may seem important to you may not matter at all to someone else. And what matters to you this week may not matter next week. But you’ll know when to say NO and then that’s what you should do.

The point is that inertia and lurking fear are not good enough reasons to say no.

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Think YES First

When faced with a decision, tell yourself that you’ll say yes unless there’s a good reason to say no. Remember that inertia and fear don’t count as good reasons. If you can’t come up with any other reason to turn down the opportunity, then… well… just say YES!

When you live your life using the affirmative, you’ll be surprised by how many doors open for you.

When have you said YES to doing something even though in the moment your fear or inertia was holding you back? Were you happy you did it anyway? Tell us in the comments.

  • Dawn Wolfe

    This is solid advice. I frequently lead with “No” out of fear of disappointing people, thinking I can’t do X, etc. But just recently I had a weeks’ worth of wonderful experiences because I said “Yes” even though it scared me.

    • Andrea Kihlstedt

      Thanks so much Dawn. I suspect you are not alone in saying “No” out of fear. It’s insidious. I find that defaulting to “Yes” and then thinking carefully really works. Funny how simple it is but what a big difference it makes.