Yesterday our phone rang past after hours when I was exhausted and ready to call it a day, but I decided to say “yes” and pick it up. It paid off. The call came from a lovely reporter at Men’s Health Magazine writing an article on becoming more spontaneous to get happier. No big deal. Just one of my favorite topics EVER.
We ended up talking about the Yes Man Strategy (based on the memoir of a man who decides to become more open to life by literally saying yes to every single thing – adventure obviously ensues).
I love this game, and it has taken me to some amazing (and strange) places from sensory deprivation chambers to pun championships. Saying “yes” to new things stretches our comfort zone, boosts our dopamine levels, increases overall motivation, and takes us to people, places, and ideas we never would have discovered had we stuck to our plans and habits. Yes is a simple and powerful pathway to growth, connection, and happiness.
BUT, when saying “yes” became my regular way of life, my calendar started screaming “no.”
When you’re dashing from a tea ceremony to make it in time for a Greek dance class, or when you find yourself having so many meetings back to back at the same dumpling restaurant (on the same day) that the server starts to look at you suspiciously, you know it’s time to rein in the spontaneity.
That’s why I’m a big fan of structured spontaneity. For me, this means designating one Yes Day per week only. My personal Yes Day is Wednesday. If you want to go to a taxidermy competition with me on Tuesday, I’m sorry but I can’t make it. Invite me on Wednesday, and I’m in.
Being spontaneous in small doses by selecting one Yes Day has several advantages:
- I don’t feel the constant pressure to experience new things and meet new people (good ol’ FOMO) because I know I have a dedicated adventure day on my calendar.
- When I take a meeting with someone, I am perfectly happy for the reason to be “no particular.” There’s no pressure to make it “useful,” so I can just sit back, listen, and enjoy.
- When I’m feeling less adventurous, having a very small dose of spontaneity isn’t very intimidating and often snaps me back into a curious and creative mindset.
- Scheduling fun becomes a piece of cake. If it’s not work-related, I just scan down the center of my calendar for a wonderful Wednesday that looks empty.
Give this a shot and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear when you’ve said “yes” and where it’s taken you.
Oh, and if your Yes Day happens to be Saturday, sign up for a Surprise New York adventure here (and get 50% off by using code YES).
P.S. Get more juicy advice on embracing your inner Surprisologist and becoming more spontaneous here: Why You Should Walk on the Wild Side (Men’s Health Magazine)