Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted September 19, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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Yes Is The New No. Be Your Own Hero

Read More: building self esteem, choices, inspiration, motivation, positive psychology, self help, taking risks

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Oftentimes when something is suggested to us as a possibility or we are asked if we'd like to do something, our first impulse is to say no. "I can't... I'm too busy... It won't work... That's never going to happen."

It appears to be a natural tendency for people to be doubtful, cynical, pessimistic, fatalistic, and passive. Perhaps it is born of a need for self-preservation and security. Perhaps we think that by saying no, by not pushing the envelope, by not taking risks, and by not investigating something prior to rejecting it out of hand, we are somehow going to keep ourselves safe.

Certainty, there is truth to that old expression, "Better safe than sorry." If we don't take risks, don't investigate possibilities, and don't venture forth into uncharted territory, we won't get hurt. We won't get disappointed. We won't get rejected. We won't feel the sting of failure.

However, the way I see it, sometimes safe equals sorry, in the sense that regret is one of the greatest sorrows and burdens to bear as we grow older.

To have had the opportunity to try something new and to not have done it or to believe that there was potential for us to achieve something great and to have allowed the ultimate naysayer in our mind to discourage us, can leave us with a haunting regret that no sense of safety can soothe.

Truth be told, who's to say that safe is actually safe? Sometimes doing nothing is a decision that can lead to greater insecurity, frustration, and disappointment, insofar as sometimes passiveness, inertia, apathy, negativity, resistance, and procrastination can leave us in the dust as the future rushes past us and we're left scrambling for crumbs.

It's easy to say no. Everybody does it. You'll be in good company. You'll never be lonely for the companionship of the mundane and mediocre.

It's not easy to say yes. It takes courage. It takes the willingness to coexist with uncertainty and be okay with it. Should our efforts not yield the hoped-for results, we still pat ourselves on the back for being an activist and not a passive-ist, for being proactive and not reactive, for being at cause and not at effect in the making of our world.

Bottom line: Don't be so quick to say no. Don't be so quick to reject opportunities and possibilities. We needn't be impulsive and reckless in our commitment to open-mindedness and new frontiers. We just need to keep our eyes open as we venture forth.

If our path takes us into shadows, we remind ourselves that love is the light that dispels the darkness of fear.