In my previous post, “Yes is the Answer,” I talked about opening up to the world of possibilities, the world that George Bernard Shaw described when he said, “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ “
It seems so intuitive to understand that Yes is the Answer, but in reality it is counterintuitive, because it goes against the way we are programmed and conditioned to think.
Believe it or not, it’s much easier to say no than yes.
And then when we finally say yes, it’s a yes that’s forced and goes against what we really want. In these circumstances, because we’ve said no so many times, we don’t really know anymore what’s yes and what’s no.
No is a knee-jerk reaction to anything that takes us out of our comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable to stray outside our comfort zone, so saying no is the easy way out. Anytime anything new is presented to us, it takes us outside our comfort zone, so the quick response of no to that something new keeps us safe and comfortable.
And that’s why new things get rejected so frequently, because they ask people to go beyond their comfort zones and embrace something beyond their usual perception – even when that new thing goes on to become widely accepted.
Take the case of handwashing by doctors – washing of hands by doctors is such a simple way to deter the spread of communicable diseases. But when it was first proposed by Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis in 1847, while he was working at a hospital in Vienna, as a way to reduce mortality among patients, his idea was roundly rejected by other doctors in the hospital. He persisted to no avail trying to convince his peers, and finally he was asked to leave the hospital for promoting his ideas. He died in 1865, and it was only years after his death that the practice was adopted.
Or take the most successful TV show in history, Seinfeld. When Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created a pilot episode of the show and it was aired on TV, the show was perceived as a failure, as it was roundly rejected by both network executives and focus groups as not worthy of continuing as a series. All who rejected it felt that the show was weak and much too different from anything that was the norm for a situation comedy.
Finally, one network executive requested that four more episodes be made as a fill-in for a canceled series, and so, a year after the pilot episode of Seinfeld was aired, four more episodes went on TV. It still didn’t create much of a stir, but that one executive had enough pull to say that the show should continue to be given a chance. And the rest, as they say, is history.
It’s so easy to reject things that don’t fit our definition of what is normal. And that’s why I say it’s much easier to say no than yes. It takes courage to take a stand and say yes, because you have to open your mind to a new way of seeing things. You have to be able to say “Why not?”
People accept the status quo because they think, it’s the way things are and have been for a long time. Yet, just because it’s the status quo doesn’t makes it right – it just means people stopped questioning the way it is.
But it’s ok to question and it’s ok to ask: is that the way it has to be? Or to ask: is there a better way of doing things? It takes courage to ask these questions and dare to see things different, to open the mind to the possibilities, and to get beyond the fear of being ostracized for thinking different.
Those who dare to be great always attempt to look at the world with fresh eyes and an open mind. These are the people who have been willing to dream things that never were and say, Why not?
When I talk about a Quantum Revolution, what I am getting at is the movement towards an open culture. We are moving in that direction, but the biggest impediment to fully getting there and realizing a more beautiful world is the way we think and perceive the world. We create our own obstacles, and these obstacles are predicated on the fear of being courageous and saying Yes.
We are not brought up to be courageous to say Yes, so that’s why saying no is easier to do. But as we cultivate the more enlightened aspects of our mind, we can get to Yes more easily because we will stand tall in our courage and power.
Albert Einstein once said, “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” And George Bernard Shaw once said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Indeed, it takes courage to go out on a limb to say Yes and open to the possibilities of what can be, even if it’s a world that only exists as a dream or seedling. Yet, if we are to evolve as humans to our highest capabilities, then the courage to say Yes and open our minds to what can be is our highest calling, and what will make the Revolution come to fruition.
Have you read Michael Wayne’s new book “The Quantum Revolution: The Power to Transform?” If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to do so, as it’s a book that promises to help ignite the movement that is sweeping our society and world, a movement that can usher in a more holistic, sustainable and enlightened world. Go to this link to get your copy now!: The Quantum Revolution: The Power to Transform