The idea behind “Yes Theory,” a new approach to life’s challenges that has recently emerged, is to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones, embrace uncertainty, and say “yes” to new experiences.
Whether via social media, literature, or cinema, this theory asserts that saying “yes” to opportunities, challenges, and adventures can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a more fulfilling life. It has inspired a global community of individuals who are now embracing this ‘say yes’ approach to life.
In this article, my aim is to explore how the theory has both facilitated the healing of profound wounds and fueled my creativity.
Popularized across mainstream media, this philosophy of living draws its foundation from a diverse array of psychological theories. Concepts like Experiential Learning Theory propose that saying “yes” to new experiences fosters continuous learning and personal growth.
In line with Flow Theory, embracing challenges and novel experiences can induce a state of optimal engagement and happiness. Cognitive Dissonance Theory explains how saying “yes” to discomfort leads to cognitive growth and harmonization of beliefs and actions. This approach also resonates with the principles of Positive Psychology, emphasizing well-being and strengths.
In addition, “Yes Theory” aligns with Behavioral Activation Theory, as the act of saying “yes” to activities that challenge one’s comfort zone can counteract negative emotions. Moreover, the movement reflects the personality traits of Novelty-Seeking and Sensation-Seeking, as individuals willingly embrace new and exhilarating experiences.
Thus, the “Yes Theory” encompasses a range of psychological theories that collectively underscore its emphasis on personal growth, happiness, and enriched life experiences.
But by far, the analysis that has resonated most with me has been Steve Jobs’ definition of creativity as “the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” He argued that this is attained by accumulating more experiences or dedicating more time to reflecting on our experiences.
In her book “Rising Strong,” Brené Brown takes this one step further, analysing how connecting the dots is a powerful integration tool to overcome hardship:
“Connecting the dots of our lives, especially the ones we’d rather erase or skip over, requires equal parts self-love and curiosity: How do all of these experiences come together to make up who I am?”
I’m not certain what worked for me, whether it was reading the aforementioned book, Steve Jobs’ advice on living through more experiences, or the sense of utter hopelessness that has prevailed over the past two months. However, all of these factors, magnified by a synchronicity of events, including a recent vacation in the Colombian Caribbean that led me to break free from my inhibitions, prompted me to put this theory to the test.
Consequently, embracing this line of thought and hoping this could be the start of my recovery journey, I resolutely embarked on a brand new venture: I resolved to explore every opportunity life presented. My goal became simple, my criterion was straightforward: I would try any new experience presented to me, and if it didn’t resonate positively, I wouldn’t hesitate to decline it in the future.
Related Articles: The River Flowing in My Heart | Finding Gratitude in the Post-Lockdown World | Why Fixing Is Better Than Replacing
This newfound approach manifested as scuba diving escapades, indulgence in untried fruits, engaging in seemingly trivial activities such as darts and frisbee, venturing out sans makeup with untamed sea-tousled hair, changing plans, immersing into pitch-black waters under the veil of night to observe the luminescence of plankton, even trying out apnea in the middle open waters and, the hardest, baring my unfiltered self to complete strangers.
While accepting an invitation to play frisbee or darts might appear inconsequential, beneath the surface lies a profound complexity: A latent fear of being seen failing.
Throughout my life, I have carried the weight of perfectionism, a trait that was probably triggered by the premature passing of both my parents. This early responsibility may have limited the time for leisurely pursuits and play, leaving me less proficient in such activities. Had it been a storytelling competition or a test, I would have dived right in, but the prospect of playing darts appeared daunting. Overcoming the ego’s fear of vulnerability was the key to unlocking the Carolina that had been hiding behind the social mask.
The responsible, serious, productive, kind, and almost-perfect Carolina took a step back, creating space for a spontaneous, courageous woman in tune with her feminine power, recognizing its ability to influence entire tides.
The outcome: A sensation of light and joy radiating from my chest, illuminating even the recently wounded darkest corners, while simultaneously leaving no room for rumination.
Also, a supernova of creativity that resulted in new chapters of what I hope one day will become my first novel, seven poems in only the 48 hours that followed the days of this experiment. It’s like my fingers can’t stop writing, and a state of flow dilates the present, pushing aside the persona —that social mask we wear to conform to societal norms — and shedding light to the true self that lied beneath.
After testing this theory and witnessing its profound impact on creativity, productivity, and mental well-being, I wholeheartedly advocate embracing the ethos of saying YES to life. It was a healing experience, one that made me realize that those moments when the sun shines the brightest redeem the darkest times and the discomfort of standing up after a fall — making it all worthwhile.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Glowing plankton. Featured Photo Credit: Wallpaper Cave.