For the last 6 months, I've practice a policy of saying yes to things- to work opportunities, last-minute plans, invitations to events. Yes is my default answer unless I have a compelling reason to say no- a scheduling conflict, financial restrictions, death risk, etc. There are 4 reasons I do this:
1. New Experiences
I've been to four major U.S. cities in the past month, caught up with old friends, made several great new ones, tried new foods, and made great networking connections. Looking back it's so easy to see how a simple no could have taken all those experiences away from me. A lot of the time when we consider doing something, we think only of the costs- travel expenses, time spent on the road, an unexpected change in the schedule, the inconvenience. I have flipped that mentality and made it more of a priority to examine the benefits first. I think of what will be gained from the experience before I even think of the costs, and it helps me frame the decision in a whole new way. Now that I've seen the benefits of the experiences I've had over the last month, the cost involved is well worth it to me. It's not even close.
2. The FOMO Factor
I don't suffer from "fear of missing out" too much, but I use the concept of FOMO to imagine outcomes and decide whether or not I want to go to an event or an adventure. Simply put: I'd much rather do something and have it turn out to be disappointing than to not do it and find out it was amazing. Thinking this way has saved me from missing out on experiences I wouldn't trade for anything.
3. Sink or Swim
When I say yes, I make a commitment that will force me to follow-through. I may have to learn a new skill to follow-through. I may need to find a way to earn some extra cash. I may need to hack my schedule and find some extra time to get it done. When I say yes, I put myself in a position to sink or swim, and I inevitably figure out how to swim.
4. My Season of Life
This is the time in my life to say yes as much as possible. I'm young, single, and mobile. A time will come in my life where that won't be the case anymore. Someday, when I have a family, I'll have greater responsibility and will need more stability. Every season of life has its unique experiences, and I'm prepared to enjoy them all in turn. I don't want to let this one pass me by.