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Why You Should Say 'Yes' More

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I'll bet you could use a lot more yes in your life. Everyone could, really. Think about it: What would our country be like if Republicans and Democrats said about the economy, "Yes, we can work this out"? How many more of us could shed unwanted pounds by adding four more letters to yes to say, "Yes, I can"? And how much more could we learn from our children by saying, "Yes?" instead of "What?!" when they yell for mommy or daddy?

This past year, no one explained the chain reaction of progress sparked by the word yes better than Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, during his commencement address at the University of California at Berkeley:

"Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others' lives as well. … Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often."

But here's the thing: Yes is hard. It requires action, commitment and engagement. And, like it or not, yes will lead to failure much of the time. On the other hand, no is easy. You don't have to change your life, much less get up off the couch, with no. There's zero risk of failure with no.

Of course, there's also zero chance of success.

Fortunately for you naysayers and second-guessers out there, I'm happy to tell you that saying yes gets easier with time and practice. The more you say it, the more you learn, the wider your comfort level expands and the more people you count as friends. Eventually you might reach that state where your experience and connections result in people, possibly hundreds of thousands of them, saying yes to you when asked if they want to buy your product.

I'm sure you can say yes to that scenario.