Are you on the fence? Yes AND No

*Walking through Target*

You hear a familiar voice.

What’s up ______, insert your name, how have you been? You answer their pleasantry cordially. They continue saying how life has been great, they have been in the gym, their kid is starting preschool, and they have become an entrepreneur!

You think, oh no, here it comes.

And sure enough, they ask if you have time to talk about their business venture. Your high school friend is having a business meeting at their house this weekend, and they want you to come. Now, you have a decision to make. You start doing some mental math and…

Every day there are asks of us. Money. Time. Feedback. And when other people are not asking, our environment is, or we are asking of ourselves. We are forced to make decisions. A quick Google search shows that the average adult makes about 35000 decisions in one day, which is about 24 decisions a minute. The decisions range from the mundane what shoes should I wear to the critical do I move my family and career across the country.

Think about all of the choices you make in a day? Snooze, clothes, food, drink, stoplights, speed, speed a little more, shortcuts, react, overreact, nap, read, work, workout, etc. Those are barely scratching the surface. I was getting overwhelmed just thinking of the list.

Have you ever stopped and considered what the common thread is between all of those decisions? They all start with a Yes or a No.

Should I brush my teeth today?

Yes: Proceeds to squeeze toothpaste. Should I run this light?

Should I run this stoplight?

No: Moves foot to press the brake pedal. Makes sense right?

But what if I told you that for every decision you make you say Yes AND No?

Using the previous examples:

  • Yes: I will brush my teeth.
  • No: I will not have bad breath.

  • No: I will not run this light.
  • Yes: I will obey the law, save a life and arrive at my destination 30 seconds later than I intended, which really doesn’t matter because I’m already fashionably an hour and a half late.

Every decision uses the same mental math formula; however, muscle memory pre-programs most functions, so those actions don’t require much cognitive effort.

The situations that cause us issues are the situations with high stakes. The problems that are full of emotion, contain differing opinions or a lot is riding on the outcome of the decision (your money, energy, time, peace, happiness).

These situations we must be careful to think through our Yes and No entirely. Often we make our decision and verbalize it and pay no credence to the other conclusion that we reached until it is too late.

For example:

Yes: I will go to the party when I get off work on Thursday night.

No: I will not study for the exam scheduled for Friday at 9:00 AM that I need to pass with an 85% to maintain my current GPA that has significant ramifications on which jobs I can apply for immediately after graduation two months from now.

We don’t consider the other side of the coin until it’s too late! Save yourself some time, money and stress by:

  1. Give yourself time to think through what your Yes and No are. There could be multiple answers.
  2. For major decisions, write them down on paper.
  3. Weigh possible outcomes.
  4. View outcomes through a critical frame. Be negative. Think of worst-case scenarios.
  5. Switch back to positive.
  6. Mitigate risks by thinking of contingency plans.
  7. Make the decision and make it work!

You will be glad you took the extra time when you consider how it could have turned out. You could have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime selling grass-fed Angus cuts and the knives to cut them with.

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