Hell Yeah or No Thanks

Time, it is said, is our only truly nonrenewable resource. As such, we must choose carefully how we spend it. As someone who has a strong sense of responsibility to both my commitments and the people around me, it is very easy for me to overextend myself and my time, finding myself overstressed, under-rested, and even incapacitated as the result. At times, this has not only made me ineffective, but also unhappy and overall dissatisfied with the circumstances I put myself into.

There is a principle for decision-making discussed on Tim Ferris’s podcast that was first brought to Ferriss’s attention by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers. The principle is that opportunity-based decision making should be binary. That is, when faced with a new opportunity, ones’ filter for deciding whether or not to act on that opportunity should be: If the answer is not ‘hell yeah,’ it is ‘no.’

When I first heard Ferriss and Sivers discuss this principle, it seemed like an oversimplification and too ‘black and white,’ but the more full my life becomes, the more I understood the value of this idea. If we accept every opportunity we are lukewarm about, we will not be able to fully commit to those things we are truly inspired by or are passsionate about when they present themselves. As the result of taking on too many projects or responsibilities that we only kind of care about, our lives become full of mediocrity and being succesfully mediocre is its own form of failure.

What are you saying ‘no’ to in order to make your ‘hell yeah’ come to life? What are you saying ‘hell yeah’ to?

 Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

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