If I gave you ten million dollars to dive into freezing glacier water, would you? What if I offered you ten million dollars to read this book carefully, do all the exercises, and then Live Yes to the best of your ability? Would you? What if I sweetened the offer by adding a satisfying job, a loving relationship, the ability to choose fun freely, and freedom from being overwhelmed by painful emotions? Would you jump in? Now, what if by reading this book you could gain the freedom to not desire the ten million dollars, but you could still create everything else? Would you still read it and go for Living Yes? If so, dive in and get ready to make a splash!
INTRODUCTION: LIVING YES OR DYING NO?
Are you Living Yes or Dying No?
What have you been taught?
What does the title Living Yes, a Handbook for Being Human mean? This will be easier to answer by looking at what Living Yes is not. My friend Jeff pointed out that the opposite of Living Yes would be “Dying No.” The opposite of Living Yes could also be “Stuck No,” “Tight-gripped No,” “Dried-out No,” “Pissed-off No,” “Closed-hearted No.” Isn’t this how most people approach their lives? Don’t most people reject everything they don’t like until they shrivel and become numbed-out, anger-stuffed, worrying zombies who are stuck thinking “No” in response to everything that they don’t like? We fight and get angry or hide and avoid anything that makes us uncomfortable. And we keep at it, unless we learn a better way.
When we were young children, we naturally lived Yes, but as we grew up, we were exposed to family misbehaviors, domestic violence, mental violence, hatred, anger, jealousy, crazy TV news, political failure, office power games, relationship conflicts, physical pain, losing our creativity, and on and on. Over the years we tightened into a defensive crouch. We can present a smile or have a few people in our lives with whom we feel safe, but the overall trend is to be stuck in No. To feel better, we race after anything that excites or relaxes us.
Fight, flight, or freeze is not the only way to respond to what greets us in our lives. Instead of resisting and struggling, we can learn to change our thinking. We can choose practical ways to move to a fresher, creative, and, dare I say, more enlightened course. We can give up being rigid and move with the tide. We can learn what lessons the sea is teaching, go beyond the wave, and become part of the entire ocean. Instead of drowning in No, we can learn from it, get its message, and become part of the flow. I hope you’ll read on, dive in, and choose to Live Yes.