Characters Holding No Yes Signs Show Uncertain Or ConfusedThose who know me well will easily recognize the title of this post, since I’ve been saying it to almost everyone I’ve known in my life, both personally and professionally, for almost 3 decades. They aren’t just empty words. In fact, the reason they flow out of my mouth so easily, and so often, is because I’ve experienced for myself, and witnessed in others, the degree to which they are perhaps the most accurate words – and useful words – that I’ve ever come across.

These words are easy to say, of course, but the value they hold is often considerably harder to convince others of, especially if they were hugely invested in what ended up being a big, fat ‘NO’. Anyone in the midst of great disappointment won’t likely be able to ‘see’ the wisdom and hope in these words, so I try to find the right time to share them (or even say them to myself). Spoken too early, it might appear that I seriously lack empathy or am leaning toward being delusional, so waiting until the sting has subsided somewhat seems to be the way to go. But, regardless, of timing, these words seem to prove true time and again. Does the belief in this ‘philosophy’ require a faith in a particular deity? No, not at all. It merely requires a willingness to consider a wider perspective, to open ourselves up to other possibilities that we may not have considered because we were so invested in a particular outcome that didn’t occur.

I’ve discovered that when I adopt this principle myself after not ‘getting’ a result that I’d hoped for, whatever that might be, it’s usually not too long before I begin feeling curious rather than disappointed, and wonder what that better ‘yes’ might be. For example, the more I’ve invested in a particular outcome, and one that seems perfect in SO many ways, and it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, I eventually become really curious about what the ‘yes’ will be. From my perspective, if the previously desired outcome became a ‘no’, then the ‘yes, must surely be amazing! But in this thinking, am I just trying to deflect my disappointment, or ask others to do the same? I don’t think so. I believe that the human condition is such that we typically believe we know what’s best for us, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it often motivates us to reach for the ‘it’ of the moment. However, in reality, we don’t always know what’s best, and if we can actually believe that, then we can more easily adjust accordingly when the circumstance (or the “Universe”) doesn’t meet our original expectations. Perhaps it’s just another way to say “lemons to lemonade”, and, if so, why not go with it, and in the process discover a more productive way to turn disappointment into hope?