Monday, October 3, 2011

You Can't Ruin My Day: Just Say "Yes"


If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in.
-Eckhart Tolle, author/spiritual teacher
Years ago, I took an improvisation class.  Improvisation is the art of creating something from whatever is presented to you. One of the things we learned in the class, and a cornerstone of improvisational technique, was called “Yes, And…” It means that one of the improvisers will say or do something and, without rejecting it, the other improviser will accept it and add something new to the action.
Basically, it is a method of being willing to accept what is given to you. Before you can have anything change in your life, you have to be willing for it to change. I’m going to repeat that because it is an extremely simple concept but a difficult one to fully comprehend.
“Before you can have anything change in your life, you have to be willing for it to change.” They keys words here are “be willing.”
Things don’t change by themselves; there has to be some energy behind them to get things moving. If you want something to be other than the way it is, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Am I willing?”— “Am I willing for things to change? Am I willing for things to be different?”  “Am I willing not to let anything or anyone upset me?”
Saying “Yes” to these things may not be comfortable; in fact it may be very difficult but if you want to move from where you are now, either physically or mentally, to somewhere else, you must be willing to do so in spite of the discomfort.
When I wanted to be a professional speaker, in order to share my message about the therapeutic value of humor, it was not easy. I almost failed speech class in college so getting up in front of a group was terrifying. But saying, “Yes” and being willing to do whatever it took empowered me to rise above my fear and share my message anyway. Saying “Yes”, and being willing to do whatever it took empowered me to keep going even when it looked like I might not get to a speaking engagement due to the forces of nature. Saying “Yes” and being willing to do whatever it took also empowered me to get my first book published when others told me it was impossible.
Being willing and saying “Yes” can empower you to face your current roadblocks. 

What can you say “yes” to this week?

An eager and willing, but less than bright, young entrepreneur decides to go into the painting business. So he wanders into the rich part of town, paint brush in hand, and knocks at the door of a large house.
"Good day, sir. I was wondering if you had any painting you need done."
The owner of the house, a rich man by any standard, looks speculatively at the painter. He perceives a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, which reminds him of his own ambition in his younger days.
"Hmmm. Yes, I think my porch needs a coat or two of paint."
The eager young painter rushes off around the side of the house...
Several hours later, he returns to the front door, his clothes dripping paint, and knocks again.
"Sir, I've finished! But I have to tell you, that wasn't a porch, it was a Ferarri."

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