Why say YES to pretty much everything?

Note: The current article has been written more than 10 years ago!

One of my life’s philosophies is simple: saying “Yes!” to pretty much everything (except for the case in which personal values are affected, and this doesn’t happen often).

The reasons behind this are simple:

  • A lot of the things fail very fast, so the process of deciding between what’s good and what’s wrong takes too much time; it’s incredible how many times between the step of “I say YES” and the first step actually being done, things fail; people tend to think that out of 20 offers, they can safely pick 3 top ones, and do them; actually, from my experience, it’s better to say yes to 10 of them (of which you have nothing to object about), and let things follow their course (which is, likely, failing) and actually do 3 things (perhaps not the top 3, but, still, 10 which you liked for a reason or another, or at least had nothing to object about);
  • I (and I think most people also) am terrible at predicting things;

On the other hand,

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

So, yes, I agree to tolerated failure; but don’t keep on doing it; stop it, sometime; don’t fail twice;

Let’s apply this logic to three different things:
I used to go to conferences a lot – I didn’t choose a lot at the beginning, the decision just took too much time; after some time, I stopped going to any conference, and I started picking; but I still went to a lot of conferences; currently I pick them, but I base my decision on past experiences, which are very useful;

Business cards – at first, when I gave a business card, I felt that the person to whom I gave the card will send me an email; this didn’t happen; then I started sending people emails; rarely did I get a reply; then I started providing a reason for sending me an email; people rarely sent an email; so, I’m currently in this position – I send an email to pretty much everyone who gives me the card and I give a reason for the person to contact me (whenever possible, it’s surely not a 100% rule); but I do not expect, based on past experiences, either an email from a person to whom I give a business card, or a reply to my emails; and it’s fine this way; I got used to things;

Volunteering – In 2011 I got to Bucharest; in the first two years of college, I applied to 5 different NGOs, for a total of 7 times (at two NGOs I applied twice); I got rejected by all of them; finally, when hope was little, I was accepted into LEADERS Romania; then, one year after, I applied to another NGO, who claimed “we will accept pretty much everyone”; I was rejected; I then picked some NGOs, based on some criteria; right now, my logic is like this:

Apply to each NGO you’re fond of (my rules are much less strict than in the faculty); if accepted, work; if accepted and the NGO doesn’t care too much of your wish to volunteer, ask for work; if no work is given, even if you insist, find another NGO;

So, the bottom solution is this – say yes to everything (since I’m not good at predicting things, and a lot of things will fail by themselves), as long as I don’t have a big objection. But once I fail, I don’t repeat the mistake.

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