Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel are not my favourite actors, but that is simply because I am not a great fan of comedy. These two actors are extremely talented and multifaceted in their own right, I am just not a follower. Having said that, I ended up watching Yes Man (Der Ja-Sager, originally released in 2008 and directed by Payton Reed, a film adaptation of the book by Danny Wallace) on Netflix last night, not quite sure hat to expect from this rom-com. Though the movie leaves much to be desired, Danny Wallace’s words from the book, which I proceeded to read immediately, certainly gave me a lot to think about.
“Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”
“Take the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. At least it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on. But it’s harder to learn or heal or move on from something that hasn’t happened; something we don’t know and is therefore indefinable; something which could very easily have been the best thing in our lives, if only we’d taken the plunge, if only we’d held our breath and stood up and done it, if only we’d said yes.”
“The closed mind is a disease. You need to have an open mind otherwise life will just pass you by. You’ll be an observer, rather than a participant.”
It was as if the universe was trying to drive home a point, and make me see that letting go to pain, hurt, frustration, guilt, and failure is all part of one side of life, the observer part. There is a whole other dimension to my life as an active participant, and this is not the intelligent decision-making part or wise organisation, but being able to see and seize the opportunities that come my way in every little form.
Say Yes more, hesitate less.
Saying Yes is scary, because it can be spontaneous, unprecedented, uncalculated, unsure. It can also be fun and unforgettable, or a complete disaster. Either way, saying yes makes me vulnerable and I hate being vulnerable. I suppose this comes from so many years of building layers of protective walls until I was able to step back and determine that this was a solid fortress that I would face the world with, giving everyone the illusion that I had my act together.
By shutting so much out, I also limited myself to a safe zone which I knew how to navigate and control. That’s just it, in the last three years I lost control of the fortress when the structural walls came tumbling down one after the other, leaving me exposed and vulnerable, wallowing in sadness and depression. It wasn’t until I began therapy last year that I realised exposure and vulnerability are the first steps towards freedom and new paths. I have since learned to say No (no thank you and no way! as well) after years of subservient obedience. Now it is time for the next lesson: the importance of saying yes. So thank you, Danny Wallace, for sharing this year of your life in the book, and giving me that little nudge.
By the way, check out Wallace’s latest book F*** You Very Much: The surprising truth about why people are so rude (Ebury Press 2018)