Learning to say "yes" | Diversify Your Self Esteem

Diversify Your Self Esteem

Synthesizing ideas from crazy adventures into philosophy, finance, engineering and psychology…

Learning to say “yes”

Say “yes”.

Say “yes” to others.

More than anything, say “yes” to yourself.

Give yourself permission to try. 

When you are offered something by someone, what is your gut reaction?

Is it to accept the offer or is it to deny it? In an attempt to be polite.

I know for me, for a long time, my reflex was to say “oh thank you, but I’m good, no thanks”. 

It didn’t matter if it was an offer for a glass of water when I visited a friend’s house or if it was to make an introduction to a business contact for me.

It is not always about how much you can give, often it’s about how much you’re willing to take.

Reciprocity is key.

I was obsessed with not being ‘indebted’ to people. I had to do it on my own, right? Otherwise it wouldn’t ‘count’.

But there were limits, there was a ceiling to what I could achieve on my own. Read more on this here.

Trust is built in any team by building an expectation that your teammates will do right by you.

Someone that turns you down whenever you try to do something nice for them seems to have something to hide.

There’s something inherently suspicious when someone doesn’t want to ‘owe’ you in any (even trivial) way.

“They clearly don’t like me or trust me very much, right?”

That’s the message you’ll be giving off when you do not allow them to do nice things for you when they want to.

The foundation of ‘success’ is community. Community is built of the back of connections. Not in a “professional networker” sense but in a genuine-care-for-each-other sense.

There is only so much you can do on your own.

The bottleneck becomes your time.

Even if you can get good at everything, it will take so much time that the tides will have shifted and you will be irrelevant already.

You can only move at the speed of the individual but the needs of society swells with the crowds, transmitting faster than you can grow and execute.

So instead of pulling away from others and attempting to go alone, we lean in.

When you deny an offer you slap the offered hand instead of shaking it.

When you accept an offer people come to like you more.

You demonstrate by accepting that you plan to be in their life long enough to return the favour somehow in the future.

Thought Experiment

When you help someone, how do you feel? Imagine yourself giving a cooked meal to a friend who you like.

A rush of warmth comes over you. We’re wired to be rewarded with the neurotransmitter oxytocin when we help someone. It’s the physiological glue that holds society together.

Oxytocin is nicknamed the “cuddle hormone” because it’s the one that is released after a long, sincere hug.

It’s the feeling of being loved. With elevated levels of oxytocin, bonding is increased between people, social fears are reduced and empathy is enhanced.

PLUS, it’s an anti-inflammatory and enhances wound healing.

Oxytocin is POWERFUL.

When you say “no” to offers, you are robbing the other party of these benefits (obviously I’m being facetious here, but it’s not wrong!).

Misattributing the cause

Now, Misattribution Principle is where you take a separately stimulated feeling and attribute that to another stimulus as the cause.

For example: Going on a rollercoaster for a date, you’ll get a huge rush of adrenaline and feel on top of the world. This memory of the feeling will be triggered whenever you think about the person.

This misplaced cause-effect relationship is conditioning you.

This will condition you to want to see them again because they make you feel top of the world (at least you think it’s they that do).

For the smallest example, take someone who is an acquaintance and now whenever you see them become visibly excited. After a few times, just by making it clear that you’re excited to see them, you will notice a tangible difference in the quality of your relationship.

We all want to be wanted. Smile broadly, hug them and just all around be clearly happier BECAUSE they’ve arrived.

But this must be genuine.

It’s a kind of Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)

Which is proven to improve the quality and closeness of your relationships.

Both of you will get a rush. You’ll have done a kindness for someone else (who knows what shit they’re dealing with) and your bond will grow.

Sharing a huge rush of Oxytocin.

So we have the neurotransmitter reward for helping and misattribution principle being combined.

  1. When someone helps you, they are rewarded, they feel good, they remember you “made them feel good”.
  2. They become more inclined to like you, want to see you again.
  3. Moreover, they’re going to want to help you again. Especially if you’re sufficiently and healthily grateful.

The usual balancing disclaimer:

this is not to say you should be draining the people around you, taking advantage of their generosity. But rather a suggestion that when help is offered, take it.

When they extend a hand, hold it.

When you go to meet someone at their office, accept the offer for coffee.

Let someone pay for lunch and then you get it next time.

It’s all about building that positive dynamic where emotionally you make each other feel good. This kind of reciprocated giving is a whole other layer of trust.

The Taking Pledge

When you always give you do not give people that intrinsic ‘high’, you do not give them the chance to be the virtuous person they want to prove to themselves they are.

Ironically, by trying not to “put them out” you end up putting an end to your relationship over time.

Either through the natural resentment of an agreeable person (you) being taken advantage of, or by them getting bored and drifting away because you don’t have a reciprocated bond.

Just being genuine.

Do you want it? Just say “yes”. Be honest.

When you can extend each other ‘credit’, either financially or even emotionally, you clearly establish you both have an Abundance Mindset.

Someone you can trust with your resources. 

The core of this is to say “yes”.

It makes other people like you more.

It makes them more likely to want to help you again.

It opens the opportunity to reciprocate which builds a stronger bond between you. Everyone’s a winner.

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1 Comment

  1. Heidi Harris June 20, 2019

    Good article Joe

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