Provided by Natasha from HearAndSeek.blog
You’re off on a date with your neighbor, after a quick session of rock climbing at the local activity center ahead of your marathon you agreed to run at the end of this week with your sister. Does this sound like a fun life or what? So how come we aren’t living it?
We spend so much of our time complaining about how we’re just not getting the things we want out of life. Is this truly because we just can’t or because we ’choose’ not to by defaulting to the word ‘no’ too often?
Are we too quick to say no to new experiences, too reluctant to take on new challenges? If I challenged you to say yes to each new opportunity that came across your way this month, would you give me a yes or a no right now?
Why Do We Say No?
Why we say no to a lot of opportunities, has a lot to do with why we also don’t see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Quite literally blame it on your brain, in fact, blame it on a phenomenon known as ‘negative bias’.
‘Negative bias’, once useful to us in keeping us from the jaws of grizzly bears and rivel stick-throwing tribes, now in a sort of twisted playground of misery causes the brain to play its own ill-fated games on itself. For negative bias means that the brain has developed a higher level of sensitivity to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli. Thus consequently, with more emphasis placed on the negative in this world as opposed to the positives, the warding off of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety seem sadly too familiar.
Yet, we must remember that the wiring of our brains, advantageous in the primordial setting of a rural landscape is not necessarily all doom and gloom in the rat race of a world we call home today. The fact that we exhibit a greater sensitivity to negative news than we do to positive news is an element of being human, of being alive. Being a negative person keeps us from harm’s way, right? Well, maybe…..The question is, what if you don’t want to be a negative person?
Don’t fret, for there is in fact a silver lining to even a mushroom cloud, it’s called ‘balance’. Now I’m not inferring that each time you say know you should immediately follow this up with an impulsive yes, looking like a babbling baboon surely will result in regression not progression. Yet instead, actively making an effort to introduce more moments into your life which are positive, and most importantly, being aware of these moments will be what stops you from hitching a one way ticket on the runaway train to utter misery
In fact, studies have shown that people who lead happier lives do so because of the integration of more frequent small positives into their lives as opposed to rarer flashier positive moments. For example, if you were to give yourself small rewards e.g. new shoes, a haircut, some downtime on a regular basis vs a holiday in the distant future, which would lead to a happier life? Positive progression comes down to frequency, with less emphasis being placed on the actual material value of that positive experience. It’s like asking the brain – do you want a little dopamine hit every day or a big dose once a month? The junkie within us would prefer it everyday, right?
Bringing the conversation back to the focus of the title – saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, this comes down to openness and a willingness to see opportunities not as threats but quite simply as opportunities to grow. And to do this we must flip our natural instincts in seeing the negative in life, and turning it round in order to see the positive that little bit more often.
Saying yes may feel like more of a risk but as the saying goes, with great risk comes greater reward. And I believe this saying couldn’t be more true.
I dare you to take on the challenge of saying yes more often than you say no this month. Do you think your life will change much by doing so, yes or no?