Saying “Yes” When You Want To Say “No”

Recently, I was approached by an acquaintance of mine who wanted to know if I was interested in collaborating on a musical project with him. The project was a completely different genre than anything I’d ever worked in before, one I have no more than a passing knowledge of. The acquaintance, who we’ll call Todd for our purposes here, is a nice enough fellow, but has been a wee bit flaky in the past. He means well, but his follow through isn’t always the greatest.

I was intrigued. Knowing the limitations and possible pitfalls of the project, should I still pursue it?┬áMy initial response had been an emphatic “HELL NO. I want zero part of that.”, but the more I thought about it, the more something curious began to happen.

I began to want to say “Yes, that sounds great.”

I could do this project on the side. It’d have a pretty low emotional or mental commitment. I could work my own hours, when I was free. I’d have virtually complete creative control and would be free to pursue my own ideas, my own concepts. It’s a genre I’d never done before, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to stretch a bit? Challenge myself, see what I’m capable of? Haven’t I learned that lesson from running already? Why shouldn’t it apply to everything else in my life?

How many opportunities have come along that I’ve ignored because I made up some reason and made it stick? The list of excuses is endless: I’m too busy, that sounds boring, I can’t do that, I don’t like everybody that’s involved, it’s too far to drive. I mean, really, when I read back over it, it sounds like a whole host of whining.

Sometimes we get too damn comfortable in our own skin. We need to push ourselves a bit into dangerous territory, do things we find awkward or weird, and just flat out get the hell over ourselves. Quit saying “No” quite so much and go explore the world a bit.

Turns out, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there, filled with a bunch of interesting people.

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