Showing up and saying yes

By showing up and saying yes to things you have already put yourself in a position to succeed. 

Both aspects require courage (I.e showing up, saying yes). The easy thing to do would avoid approaching an experience, which entails a degree of vulnerability and an unknowable outcome. Just stay home, make up an excuse and convince yourself it is legitimate. Carry on, forget about it. It will always be simpler to stay home and manufacture a reason why you cannot do something. 

Saying “yes” to things is a verbal contract between you, and someone else. There are social pressures and expectations that come along with that. To say yes and approach a situation where you will undoubtedly make mistakes is unsettling. But this is life. If you are pragmatic and honest with yourself, this should be a non-issue. When we remove the ego, it gives us space to admit that we know we don’t know anything. As noted by John Archibald Wheeler, “As our island of knowledge grows, so too does our ocean of ignorance.” 

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is no immunity to mistakes, and nobody is perfect. We can have an awareness of the fact that a variety of mistakes will be made in our future. One thing that can be a constant, is our response to our mistakes. Just be honest with yourself and say, “I know I don’t know what I am doing, and I know that I’ll make many mistakes. I know that when the mistakes happen, I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again”. 

A fundamental tenet of Stoic philosophy is imagining negative future events, and preparing mentally for and if they were to occur. In a practical sense, this notion means identifying the worst case scenario, and building a game plan outlining your response. Once you have done this, you are prepared. When we imagine future negative events and our responses, we erase irrational fears. When we control our irrational fears, we give ourselves the space needed to be able to show up and say yes to things.