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Become a Yes Man (or Yes Woman) | Don't Ever Look Back

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Become a Yes Man (or Yes Woman)

Become a Yes Man (or Yes Woman)

A little while ago we watched Yes Man, the 2008 comedy film starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel. The premise of the film is that Carrey’s character Carl vows to answer “Yes!” to every opportunity, request or invitation that presents itself.

Because it’s a comedy, his affirmative answer to every question often leads to awkward and amusing situations but regardless, a lot of inspiration can be taken from the message of saying “yes” to everything (well, not everything, obviously – but a lot more!) and open your mind to a whole new world of possibilities.

Segway in Singapore

Yes we look incredibly silly, but it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done!

From a personal perspective, to say the two of us are indecisive is an understatement. When asked simple questions like “do you want chicken for dinner?”, we answer with perhaps the three most useless words in the English dictionary.

“I don’t know”.

When you’re a traveler, these words won’t get you very far. In fact – answering “I don’t know” or flat-out declining an invitation may result in missing out on something you’ll regret for a lifetime. By saying yes, we’ve experienced many things that have made us step well outside our comfort zone.

Saying Yes to Handling a Snake

Saying "Yes" to handling a snake.

But regrettably, we also have said “no” on occasions. On our upcoming round-the-world trip, the two of us are determined to become a “Yes Man” and a “Yes Woman” in order to experience as much as we possibly can. Sure, sometimes this attitude might hurt our travel budget and we’ll often need to step outside of our comfort zone, but by saying “yes” we will create plenty of positive memories that will last forever.

A year ago we wouldn’t have even considered doing something like skydiving or eating weird creatures like bugs. In fact, we probably would have answered with “never!” if asked to do those things. But you should never say never and if the opportunity to experience things like this presents itself while we’re on the road, then we’ll be seizing the day and answering with a loud and emphatic “yes”.

Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it.
– Gloria Swanson

If you’re reading this post, we implore you to change your attitude and become a “yes man” or “yes woman” – even if just for a day!

Eliminate the words “No” and “I don’t know” from your vocabulary and accept the opportunities or invitations that present themselves. It might just change your life.

Question: Has a film inspired you to change your attitude lifestyle? Let us know in the comments.

Flickr Photo: Joe Shlabotnik


  1. Posted June 17, 2011 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve made a concerted effort to just go for it if I’m indecisive about something. It’s a much more exciting way to live!
    Scott – QuirkyTravel recently posted..Pictures and a recap from the Chicago 2011 World Naked Bike Ride

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Definitely – we can’t wait to put it into action on a more regular basis!

  2. Posted June 17, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I love that book and enjoyed the movie too!!

    I too try to say “Yes” to almost everything while traveling. But lately, because I am not traveling, why should I say no? I have been trying to get out there and do things in LA that I usually only do when I travel, but why should that stop me:-)?!
    Rebecca recently posted..Priorities- Proper Hair Cut or an Extra Beer- Decisions- Decisions New Zealand- Haircut Overseas

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Definitely a good idea to take this attitude when you’re at home as well! Unfortunately we’ve had to say “no” to quite a lot lately as we’re trying to save every last penny so looking forward to saying “yes” again when we get on the road!

  3. Posted June 17, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    When I first saw this movie I went out for almost a week straight. When it is winter in Canada and people are hanging at home more me and my friends challenge each other to be better yes people.

    I was reading the book when I was on a trip to Atlantic City/NYC and it definitely prompted lots of yes activity. It’s very much about seeing where life takes you.

    Great post!
    Mariah recently posted..what the university of toronto taught me

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      It’s great to know we’re not the only ones inspired by the message in this movie/book! Exactly right about it seeing where lifes take you – saying yes opens you up to what will hopefully be amazing possibilities!

  4. Posted June 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    This is really great advice. I’ve been planning to put this into action during my trip to Latin America – to say yes when I really want to say no! 😀
    Megan recently posted..Photo Friday- The death railroad…almost

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Awesome Megan! Look forward to hearing about your adventures and what saying “yes” has done for you on your travels.

  5. Posted June 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I had this attitude when I was in Cambodia and had promised myself to eat a spider prior to arriving. When the spiders were presented for eating, I was a “yes man” no more. I just couldn’t do it. Mainly due to the moussy nature of the abdomen rather than any fear of the crispy head and legs… Going to strangers’ house on the other hand, I’m there!
    Adam @ SitDownDisco recently posted..A New Chapter – Off to Java

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha… just the way you described that has nearly put me off! I think we’ll stick to the crispy bugs, that still counts as being adventurous right?

  6. Posted June 18, 2011 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    That movie is brilliant 🙂 I keep telling myself to say yes more often, but all to often I just take the easy road and say no instead. Definitely planning on changing that on my upcoming trip.
    Tijmen recently posted..Avoiding Sickness in Africa

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      It is brilliant! I think the hardest part will be sticking to that attitude – best of luck! 🙂

  7. Posted June 20, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Really great advice I think all travelers should keep in mind, even the veterans. I can sometimes get the same way by turning down an opportunity, but my next big trip I will keep this in mind.
    Suzy recently posted..Virginia City- Nevada Wishes You Were Here

  8. Posted June 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is great advice, and I try to follow it, too. When you travel, you come across opportunities that you may literally NEVER have again. It’s better to live with insane stories than regrets, right??

    I think this applies to splurging every now and then when you travel, too. So many people travel with such a tight budget that they simply CAN’T say “yes” to most things. Which, in my opinion, is a huge shame.
    Amanda recently posted..The Solo Girl and the Hostel

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly right – you can’t pass up on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities! Who knows? You might never be in that same city ever again!

      If you gotta splurge to make it happen, then so be it. If you can’t afford to say yes then you’re missing out on some of the best parts of traveling!

  9. Posted June 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You make a great point. A lot of opportunities can be missed when you don’t step outside your comfort zone sometimes. I’ve found that saying “yes” can also take the form of thinking and planning out travel in a new way. We can create our own new adventures =).
    Lori recently posted..Gloomy Weather Isn’t- Hiroshima Garden

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes, even looking at future travel plans with an open mind can bring new adventures and opportunities that may not have been on the usual radar. There really are so many great ways that you can interpret the “yes” message. 🙂

  10. Francesco Botta
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    What if I say yes to hanging out with my friends tomorrow for example…and then my boss calls me in to come work, how do you choose and still be a yes man???

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