Derek Sivers, one of my all-time favorite thinkers, has a philosophy on what’s worth doing that is helpful as you outline your goals and objectives.
This could include what you choose to focus on in your daily interactions. It also includes the offers that come in each day to your text messages, email inbox, or social media feed. Sivers greats each offer with a simple metric…it’s either a HELL Yeah!!!… or No.
If your time is not being utilized at a high rate, try using HELL YEAH (or a lack thereof) as a determining factor.
Hell Yeah or No
‘Hell Yeah or No’ is a simple philosophy that goes like this: when you are asked to do something, anything, with your time, it needs to be a ‘hell yes’ or a ‘no’.
There is nothing in between.
The rationale is that if you’re saying yes to things in your life that are not important, you won’t have time for the hell yeah things in your life. Ask yourself, is this something that will get me excited?
The more you say no to things, the more time, energy, and focus you will have for the things that will really excite you. The hard part is learning how to say NO.
Sivers expands on this in his book on the topic by talking about what’s worth doing, fixing faulty thinking, and making things happen.
Why to Say No
Sometimes it is hard to see how many times we’ve said yes, and how this impacts our time, attention, and passion.
If you’re busy, overwhelmed with commitments, and have trouble finding a moment to breathe in the day – then you absolutely need to inject some HELL YEAH.
Implementing this in your life first includes learning how to say no. Let’s look at an example from a close friend of mine. We’ll call him William. 🙂
- William signed up for three conferences and “had said yes to all of them out of habit or obligation” (“yes”). William later realized he was not completely enthusiastic about attending, and that they were going to suck up valuable time and money for him to be there.
- William had another project he was passionate about and really wanted to work on (a “HELL YEAH”). The challenge was that he needed to carve out time to focus on the passion project.
- Wiliam found time for his project by canceling his attendance at the three conferences (“no”)
If you already have a ton of things going on, there’s no reason to commit to yet another project. If you’re not passionate about it, you will not find time for it. You’ll regret signing up for it. When you ultimately work on it, you’ll do lousy work. In addition…your other work will suffer as well.
Hell Yeah in Practice
Be careful. Side effects may include the following.
- Do what you love.
- Work on projects you believe in.
- Be passionate about everything you do – and don’t commit to anything you aren’t prepared to fully throw yourself into.
- Let go of some commitments.
- Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.
If you’re working on a project with a partner, both you and the other person need to be Hell Yeah yes about something (and it must be the same thing), otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.
When life throws you a curveball
You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes your way, but sometimes life makes decisions for us.
I’m still learning this lesson. Things have happened in my life where I slid into an answer, or should I say that I was forced into accepting an answer. Many times the best decisions only seem obvious in hindsight.
Of course a Hell Yeah mentality may not be the way to decide if you want to quit your job, go back to school, or move across the country. Hopefully there is a bit more thought and strategy placed into those decisions.
But, I think you can still employ a bit of Hell Yeah into those decisions.
You can pay attention to your gut feeling about the situation. You can think about whether you’re excited about the alternatives and options. You can eliminate some of the options and make the decision smaller. Remember that the root of “decide” is “cide” which comes from the Latin word meaning “to cut.”
Deciding on the really important questions in life may be uncomfortable at times, and sometimes may be painful. But that is part of the beauty of a “Hell Yeah or No” philosophy.
Don’t spend time focused on making some of the less important decisions. Protect your time, passion, and attention for those situations when you’ll really need it.