Great experiences don’t always feel great

Yes Changes Everything!January 15, 2009

Shortly after takeoff, US Airways Flight 1549 loses power in both engines. In what aviators call a “bird strike,” a flock of geese flying straight into the plane’s propellers has disabled them instantly.

In the cockpit, Captain Sully Sullenberger quickly realizes it would be impossible to reach any airport, meaning a crash landing is his only option. Drawing on 42 years of aviation experience, he steers the plane — a giant jetliner called and Airbus — into the Hudson River, gliding to a safe landing that spares the lives of 155 passengers and crew members.

Afterward, Sully remembered the moment when it felt like all was lost, how having “zero thrust coming out of those engines was shocking — the silence.”

More recently, Sully said about that day: “For 42 years, I’d been making small, regular deposits in a bank account of experience, education, and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

“I realized,” he said, “that everything in my life up until then had prepared me for that moment.”

And he meant everything: his family, schooling, experience as a glider pilot and instructor, military service, civil service…everything.

A big waste of time?

I spent years as a communications consultant to large corporations, supporting my kids and my employees.

That whole time, the idea for Blossie’s Books was alive and kicking in every cell of my body. But no matter how I felt, I had to keep being the “corporate tiger.” Too many people were depending on me. No way I could stop consulting to write books.

Beautiful someone, until I listened to that interview with Sully, honestly, I’d often slip into regret (maybe even a little self-pity 😊) for the years I spent serving the corporate world.

Maybe it was all a big waste of time?

We can all do this — spend time regretting our past, something I can relate to not only on a work level, but on a personal level too, having lived through the enormous pain of infidelity and divorce.

But what Sully said kind of makes that impossible…

“I realized that everything in my life up until then had prepared me for that moment.”

Nothing is wasted

Most of us will never experience a moment like Flight 1549, but there’s a bigger message here: the idea that for any given moment, our past, our experiences (good and bad), our histories and skills, have prepared us.

Nothing is ever wasted.

So now I can look at my past through a new lens:

My corporate experience (as unhappy as it was) gave me insights into the pressures employees are under so I can write books about good ways to handle those pressures.

Years as a consultant enabled me to understand the pressures of entrepreneurship and the challenges of being a good manager. They made me a better communicator — or at least one who tries harder!

Infidelity and living through a painful divorce gave me a level of empathy for people going through the agony of rejection. (It also made me fiercely loyal in my relationships because I know what betrayal feels like.)

Good questions

Looking through this new lens, we can all make a list like this. Some questions to help:

  • “What were some of the tough experiences from my past?”
  • “How have these experiences made me a stronger person? How have they made me smarter?”
  • “Who do I have more empathy for because of these experiences?”

In the end, beautiful someone, I’ve realized, my heart to yours: Not every great experience feels great while it’s happening to us. But they’re all important to becoming who we’re meant to be.

Love changes us

Happy October, beautiful someone!

A long time ago, I was taking a fitness class in New York City. It was early morning, a Saturday in the middle of winter. I was going through a seriously bad patch — my husband had decided he was done with marriage. This was a shock, and I hurt everywhere. I remember thinking, “Now I know I have a soul because I can feel it tearing in half.”

I’ve never been good at hiding my feelings, so I’m sure I looked pretty bad. Anyway, after class the instructor walked over to me, put an arm around my shoulder and squeezed tight. Then she turned to me. “I don’t know what you’re going through, but you’re going to be okay,” she said. After all the yelling at home, I think my knees must have given way a little at the gentleness in her voice.

“I want to give you something,” she said.

She reached into her pocket and took out $100 bill which she pressed into my hand.

“This is for you—and only for you,” she said. “Do something nice for yourself with it.”

Before I could say anything, she gave me a hug and walked away.

I watched her, my mouth hanging open, the money in my hand.

I still remember

Everything at home moved fast after that, and I never ended up going back to that studio. Still, divorce, meeting the love of my life, remarriage and two babies later, I remember that day so vividly. It was a moment when I experienced pure love — someone understanding that I was in pain and, like an angel, being inexplicably generous to me, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

I like to think that experience did more than just make an impression on me. It changed the way I thought about love and generosity. It was so powerful that it made me want to do more than just receive love. It made me want to pass love on by looking for chances to be generous in small and big ways.

Let love change us

And reading this story, maybe you do too, beautiful someone? Maybe together we can follow my angel instructor’s example by giving financially when we can, but also by letting a car in on the highway. Smiling at that annoying guy at CVS. Letting the harried mom with two small kids go ahead of us in line at the store. Telling the waiter who brought the wrong drink that it’s “totally no big deal.” Dropping a few extra groceries off at the food pantry. Raking an elderly neighbor’s leaves.

And remembering that love, in itself, doesn’t change things.

Love changes us, and we change things.

Yes doesn’t have to scream—it’s that powerful

 

There is this amazing story about the day John Lennon and Yoko Ono met: in the Fall of 1966, Yoko was in London for an art exhibition. Already an accomplished avant-garde artist, Yoko was displaying her works at the Indica Gallery as part of an exhibition called Unfinished Paintings and Objects.

John visited the gallery the day before the show was scheduled to open. He was skeptical about the displays, and the artist herself, who greeted him with a card that read, literally, “Breathe.”

A ladder and telescope

One piece got his attention, though: Yoko had placed a ladder that led up to a canvas on the ceiling on which some tiny type appeared. John had to climb the ladder and look through a small telescope to see what it said.

You might’ve expected the word to be “love” or “hope,” but as John stood there squinting through the magnifying glass on top of that small ladder, he could see that the word was “Yes.”

I heard this story a long time ago, and I never forgot it. What does it say about me (maybe about you too 😊) that this story would be so intriguing in the sense of being unique, memorable, thought-provoking?

What is it about yes that might matter so much?

Yoko’s message

Sometimes I play a game with myself (maybe not a game, more like a spiritual exercise): I ask myself if I knew my life would soon be over, what would be the one or two or 20 things I’d be most mad I didn’t accomplish?

Thinking about that list, I ask myself: “Am I making those things, or that one thing, a priority in my life? Am I saying yes to it and concentrating my best energy there?”

It’s a great reality check: am I saying yes to the right things in my life? The things that really matter to me and the people I love? Or (more likely when I check-in like this), am I cluttering up my life with a bunch of urgent stuff — the in-my-face unavoidable deadlines of life, the errands I have to run, appointments I need to keep, deadlines I can’t avoid — and not focusing on the goals that aren’t urgent but definitely important? My beautiful, amazing, super-critical-to-me goals and bucket list?

Like this:

Urgent Important
Get to work on time Plan my next career move
Pay bills Create a savings plan
Fix a cavity Get teeth cleaned
Make dinner Plan and buy a week of healthy groceries

The reason I love this reality check is that, like Yoko, I’m learning that what I say yes to is incredibly important, an idea I think her piece was signaling by making yes small and hard to see.

Yes doesn’t have to scream — it’s that powerful.

“The infinite capacity of hope”

Hi Beautiful Someone,

Sorry for the long post, but I really wanted to share this excerpt from my new book, Yes Changes Everything! Please enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Yes Changes Everything!

What do you know about Helen Keller? Probably that she was blind and deaf and lived a long and influential life. Me too. But it was only after coming across one of my favorite Helen Keller quotes on optimism that I started to look closer at her life and realize how truly remarkable she was.

Helen Keller was born a healthy baby in 1880 on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. At six months, she began to talk and at 12 months to walk. Before age 2, however, an illness — later they would speculate scarlet fever or meningitis — had taken Helen’s ability to see and hear. She would live in darkness and silence for the rest of her life.

“She knows! She knows!”

Helen grew up in a loving home, but her family didn’t know how best to take care of her, so they let her run free and be wild.

As she grew, her inability to see or hear must have become very frustrating. And the wild and unusual behavior that was cute and acceptable in a baby and a toddler was totally unmanageable in an older child. By age six, she was prone to screaming, tantrums, and rages. People began to say that institutionalizing her was the only solution. But Helen’s parents were determined to do all they could and find options for her.

Eventually, they found the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston. It was there, through Alexander Graham Bell (yes, that one, inventor of the telephone), that they were put in touch with the woman who became one of the most dedicated teachers of all time: Annie Sullivan.

Annie worked tirelessly with Helen to enable her to make connections between objects she could feel and letters of the alphabet that Annie would draw into the palm of her hand.

The Miracle Worker

If you’ve seen the movie The Miracle Worker, you’ll remember the scene at the water pump where Annie holds a seven-year-old Helen’s hand under the spray, yelling, “It has a name!” and spells W-A-T-E-R into the little girl’s hand. This is the moment when, slowly and with great difficulty, Helen says, “wa-wa.”

Everything happens then in the space of a few minutes as Helen runs from the pump to the ground to the trees to the porch steps and demands to have them spelled into her hand. “Mrs. Keller! Mrs. Keller!” Annie screams, “She knows! She knows!” By the end of that day, in the fashion of hand-spelling, Helen had learned more than 30 words.

The infinite capacity of hope

From that moment, Helen Keller’s world opened. She attended the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston, then the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City. She worked for decades to learn how to read Braille as well as how to communicate through touch-lip reading, typing, and finger-spelling. She was a formidable opponent as a chess player. She attended Radcliffe College where she proved to be a brilliant and extremely hard-working student, graduating with honors in 1904 and becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

Helen Keller became an author, completing her first book, The Story of My Life, in 1905. Others would follow, including The World I Live In, Out of the Dark, The Song of the Stone Wall, The Open Door, and Optimism. Helen had a heart for activism, voicing her views on social and political issues such as women’s suffrage, pacifism, labor rights, and anti-militarism.

She worked tirelessly on behalf of people living with disabilities, traveling around the world and even testifying before Congress about the needs of the blind. In 1920, she helped found the powerful and influential American Civil Liberties Union. She received honorary doctoral degrees from five renowned universities around the world, and in 1963 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The secret of the stars

I love the story of Helen Keller’s life and her amazing breakthroughs and contributions. Even more amazing: late in her life, she lamented in an interview that one of her only regrets was that she had not been able to learn to speak properly — her speech was halting and incoherent because she had heard so little of the spoken word before her illness. If she had learned to speak clearly, she said, she could have helped more people. “How much more good could I have done if I had acquired normal speech?” she said through her teacher. “But out of this sorrowful experience, I understand more fully all human strivings, thwarted ambitions, and the infinite capacity of hope.” What a poignant example of transforming incredible hardship into lasting good!

All this is a backdrop for one of my all-time favorite quotes about optimism that sparked such an interest in the story of Helen Keller from none other than Helen herself:

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

Our own four-minute mile

Yes Changes Everything!For decades, running the mile in less than four minutes was considered impossible, beyond the physical capacity of the human body. Then one day in 1954 on the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England, something incredible happened: in front of 3,000 spectators, a 25-year-old medical student named Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

More amazing than the achievement itself was what happened afterward. Though forever, runners had tried without success to break the four-minute mile, within a few weeks, the record was broken again. In a few years, the mile had been run in less than four minutes hundreds of times. Today, the record stands at just over 3 minutes and 43 seconds.

He said yes

Years later, Roger Bannister remembered almost changing his mind about the run that day as the winds were strong and unpredictable. Finally though, about 20 minutes before the start, he said yes, and made history. Everyone else shook their heads, but he nodded at an inconceivable goal and rose to an impossible occasion.

In doing so, he changed the impossible to the possible. And not just by baking a better cake! Imagine: he’d unbounded the physical limits of the human body. And without knowing it, he’d also ushered in the beginning of a new era in sports. Because today, athletes don’t see records as limits. They see them as challenges.

This is clear as we watch world-class athletes perform: as each year passes they just take our breath away, whether it’s Simone Biles in gymnastics or Michael Phelps in swimming, what they are able to achieve would’ve been unimaginable a generation ago. Roger Bannister set this mentality in motion by saying yes to a race on a windy day more than 50 years ago.

What must it have been like to learn he had achieved this feat?

I think we know. Yeah, we do. Think about a challenge you rose to, something you tried that you never had before. That time you raised a sweaty hand. Said okay in a shaky voice. Logged in and registered for something with butterflies banging around in your stomach. Signed up for that course in a subject you knew nothing about. Said, “I’m going to try,” when everyone else said, “Why bother? It’s impossible,” or “You? You’ve never done that!”

We’ve all risked yes in the past, otherwise we’d all still be where we were ten years ago. We reached further than what we could see from our own window (or job or friend group or relationship or experience or routines), even when we knew it was a stretch, and we surprised ourselves, not always in huge dramatic ways, but we did surprise ourselves.

Challenge, change, and learning

Challenge, change, and learning all go together (usually in that order!) for a reason. So we rose to an occasion and found out something. We learned what works, what doesn’t, who we can count on, who we can’t. What we’re capable of, what was too much of a stretch at the time…in other words, something worthwhile, no matter what the actual outcome was.

And the good didn’t end there, because what Roger Bannister did broke through not a physical barrier as much a mental one. His achievement, and more to the point what it set in motion, says a lot about mental barriers that become physical ones in our minds, which can become as solid as a brick wall blocking our way forward. It also speaks to just how powerful we are, what we can accomplish in ways that can absolutely amaze everyone, including ourselves.

And it starts with yes:

  • “Yes, I’ll try.”
  • “Yes, I can.”
  • “Yes, there’s hope.”
  • “Yes, it’s possible.”
  • “Yes, I’d like to see.”

Experiences that challenge us change us

I always feel sorry for lottery winners or people who have inherited great wealth — I really do — because without the financial and professional challenges and yes, struggles of life, they are more prone to depression. They feel weak because their spiritual and intellectual muscles aren’t facing the resistance they need to get strong. They’re often scared and maybe defensive because their guts aren’t being tested, and they don’t have confidence in how they’d react if they were. They haven’t had the joy of seeing themselves rise to new challenges.

It’s just impossible to underestimate the incredible importance of meaningful work and life challenges and experiences.

We don’t want everything handed to us

Think of the stories of young performers or movie stars who’ve made tons of money before they’re even 25 years old and therefore “don’t have to work a day in their lives”: too many of them fall into deep depression and even self-destructive habits. There’s a reason for this, and I don’t think that we need to have a lot of psychological science or case studies to know what it is. As humans, we crave challenge. It makes us feel alive and strong and capable and confident. Without it, our souls and self-esteem truly suffer.

We actually, in truth, in our hearts don’t want to have everything handed to us. It doesn’t make us feel valuable or strong or capable or confident. It can even be crippling. We need to prove to ourselves how strong we are, what were made of. How powerful, able to run back into the metaphorical flames and phoenix out of them again and again.

This has to be one of the reasons that when we face tough times in our lives, so many of us say the same thing: “At least I got to go to work,” and “I feel so much better when I’m at work. It lets me focus on something other than what I’m going through,” and “I don’t know what I would do without my job/profession/kids/business to focus on.”

We need enterprise; we need work. It makes us strong. It gives us resilience.

Tough experience is a gift

This is why challenging experiences, growth and confidence all go hand-in-hand. It’s why I tell my kids that not every experience that’s good for us feels good when it’s happening. Not liking camp, being embarrassed when they lose a game, the first day of…anything, being corrected by a coach or teacher…all these and more are making them stronger, more resilient, and smarter, in ways that positive experiences just can’t. Tough experiences are a life-long gift because we remember them long afterward. Whether that helps us not repeat a mistake, stay away from certain types of people, turn down job offers that aren’t right for us, or anything else we learned about “the hard way.”

When we embrace this, we can say yes to tough experiences and bumpy roads and tough climbs that we know will activate our minds and muscles. These challenges make us excited to get up in the morning and face the day, with energy flowing through us, electrifying every corner of our bodies. We feel focused and alive, resourceful and creative.

Oh yes we do.

Listening is an act of love

Is there anything better than knowing — not just believing, but knowing in your bones — that someone is truly listening to you, that they’re “getting it”? The person values your ideas and dreams enough to stop what they’re doing and hear you out.

I’ve worked with thousands of people facing all kinds of challenges, and I have to say that no act of love is more powerful than listening.

I think it’s because listening does more than help us gather information. It shows we have an honest interest in what matters to someone else.

A clear message

Taking the time to listen sends a clear message: “I’m devoting my energy and attention to you because I want to know what you think and how you’re feeling.”

Then the real magic begins: they relax and open up. And when it’s our turn to talk, they listen to us. When we hear people, they’re ready and willing to hear us too. There’s a connection between us because, just by listening, we built a bridge to each other and willingly walked across it.

Listening is an act of love that opens hearts, minds, and even doors of opportunity, but we can’t do it in a hurry. It takes time. Imagine how good it would feel to have someone say to you: “This is too important to rush. Can we talk this afternoon, like around 3? I can finish what I’m doing and totally focus on what you’re saying.”

Listen. Just listen.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who keeps looking at their phone while you talk? How about someone who forgets conversations you just had with them? Or someone whose eyes dart around the room while you’re talking to them? Or a friend who makes you feel rushed all the time, like no matter how fast you talk, it’s not fast enough?

I have!

And I remember how unimportant these people made me feel when I tried to talk to them. It’s not just that they weren’t listening. It’s that anything and everything else was more interesting than what I was saying!

So, beautiful someone, let’s make some promises to improve the listening that goes on in our lives, families, communities, and world:

  1. When someone is talking, we’ll put everything on hold and think, “Right now, I’m listening, and that’s all I’m doing.”
  2. We will listen, really: we won’t lay in wait for an opening so we can jump in and start talking.
  3. We will listen for what the person needs to say, not what we want to hear.
  4. We will encourage the person speaking by saying things like: “I hear what you’re saying,” “I understand what you mean,” “What happened next?” and “Tell me more about…”

In these ways, we’ll show that listening is an act of love and validation that everyone—everyone—desperately needs.

Trust your intuition

Why don’t we trust our intuition?

Sometimes, a choice may seem right, all the intellectual facts support going ahead with it…

  • He/she says all the right things.
  • The job in Chicago has great benefits, good opportunity for advancement, and the company is willing to pay for relocation.
  • The apartment we want to buy is close to work, spacious, and available for the right price.

Still, for some reason, we hesitate.

There’s the temptation to say, “What is wrong with me — this is so perfect!” But beautiful someone, when we hesitate, there’s a reason. Something is going on intuitively that we need to trust and pay attention to.

The stomach never lies

You know how we tell our kids that if they ever feel uncomfortable in a situation — afraid, queasy, weirded out in any way — they must trust that feeling and walk away, or say no, or call us, or all three? Lately with my own kids I’ve started to shorthand it: “Listen to your gut — it never lies.” And it’s true that our brains sometimes rationalize, “reason” things out, or make excuses, but our stomachs can’t. Which is why when our guts are talking to us, they are telling the truth.

Our intuition is a form of genius, something Albert Einstein once called “a sacred gift.” I’ve seriously got to put trusting my gut high on the list of lessons I wish I’d gotten much earlier in my life. Specifically, to know that when my stomach is twisting, or just giving me that feeling of yech, it’s talking to me, and this purity of communication, its simplicity, its wordlessness, its inability to make excuses, is often so much smarter than I am in my head.

Head and heart

We have both head and heart (intellect and intuition) because we’re supposed to use both in our decision making.

Our intuition, our Spidey senses, our gut feelings, our deepest memories imprinted on the hippocampus during times of great stress — none of these communicates to us rationally through cognition, through conscious thoughts and words. And yet each is incredibly valuable for making choices that lead to an awesome life — a healthy, whole, and sane one.

Sometimes, we need to just let the stomach win.

Yes Changes Everything!

Whose mirror is it anyway?

…from my next book, Yes Changes Everything! Coming soon!

In Dream Come True, I wrote about something I call The Comparison Game, the incredible burden of comparing ourselves to other people:

          We spend waaay too much time looking at everyone else, reading about “overnight” successes (who have almost always worked 10 years behind the scenes before getting their big break), about prodigies and instant billionaires.
          Then, after packing all this into our brains and hearts, we innocently take a look in the mirror and see…what exactly? Truth. Ourselves. Our beautiful, hardworking, honest, naked selves. How—HOW can this compare to the well-written headlines, gorgeous photography, and carefully edited stories showcasing the best of the best and making dream-reaching look so easy and instant in 100 words or less?
          The problem is, we’re looking at other people’s outsides with our insides. It’s apples and oranges! We’re comparing the naked truth about ourselves to other people’s made-for-primetime stories! You see? Apples and oranges! Or more like refrigerators and sunscreen: NOTHING in common.
          …Here’s the truth—and please remember this one down in your beautiful bones—we are different. That’s it. That’s the reason comparison is such a game in the first place. We are each as unique as our fingerprints, and so comparison, in a very real way, is ridiculous.
          …the Comparison Game is a mediocrity magnet that dream seekers have to resist with everything we’ve got. It is the status quo’s most useful weapon, a tiny seed of “You are weird” and “Be ashamed of your out-of-the-box ideas” and “You want to try WHAT?” that takes root if we water it with belief, time, and attention.

One-of-a-kind

We’re not better or worse than anyone else, beautiful someone. We’re different from everyone else! This is the real sneaky part of this Comparison Game and a huge way in which it blocks the yes that changes everything. Comparison encourages us to be the same — to ditch the yes that changes everything in favor of the yes that makes us cookie-cutter identical to everyone around us.

How can that be good?

If we are creating ourselves by looking at everyone else and making our choices based on theirs, we will all end up looking exactly the same. (“Number 12 Looks Just Like You” is an episode of the original Twilight Zone about this. It’s based on “The Beautiful People,” a fable by Charles Beaumont about a girl in a futuristic society where everyone has plastic surgery to look identical—seriously creepy, but unforgettable and worth watching!)

And with all this shaping ourselves to be just like everybody else, there’s absolutely no room for the yes the changes everything for us and the people we love in our one-of-a-kind lives.

We thrive as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a world based on our uniqueness as individuals coming together to create something bigger and better (and definitely more interesting!) as a whole.

Creativity starts with yes!

…from my next book, Yes Changes Everything! Coming in May 2020!

Yes Changes Everything!Are you creative? Most people say, “Um, no.” They think only the da Vinci’s of the world, musicians, writers, and performing artists are creative. Those are the people with the secret special inborn talent that the rest of us just don’t have!

But you know what? I think we’re all creative; we just need to think about creativity differently.

Creativity is just bringing something new to life.

When we’re stuck for a word, it’s creative to look it up or even to ask people around us: “What’s another word for house?” and then use sanctuary, dwelling, or habitat in what we’re working on.

When we need a baby gift for a friend who’s having her third, we want to give something different, fresh, and unique. So it’s creative to scroll through Pinterest or Tumblr for ideas. We find a store that sells hand-crocheted llamas and one-of-a-kind monogrammed hats—done!

Something new

In this sense — bringing something new to life — creativity just sounds like a happy, healthy everyday life:

  • “Yes, I want to do that, so how can I find out…”
  • “Yes, that’s it! Plus, what if…”
  • “Yes, that sounds good, and maybe we should also…”
  • “Yes, and we’ll need to find out…”
  • “Oh yeahhh! And if we do that, we can test out my other idea…”
  • “Yes! I’ve always wanted to try…”

Obviously, the theme is yes! And next thing we know, we’re creatively:

  • Solving problems
  • Making good things happen
  • Bringing great people together who end up liking working or just being together
  • Seeing new opportunities
  • Generating the energy and finding the resources to push past obstacles and reach a goal
  • Facing a dilemma and uncovering new solutions

…and then standing back, looking at the results, and thinking, “Oh man, I created that!”

Creative mojo

This is so important, beautiful, because nurturing our creativity is all-in for being happy, healthy, and sane.

All. In.

Researchers have found strong links between creativity and self-esteem.

Creativity and healing after trauma.

Creativity and learning.

Creativity and giving voice to feelings people didn’t know they had.

Creativity and problem-solving.

Creativity. Bringing something new to life. Venturing into a skill, a form of expression, a task, an endeavor—anything that lies in a direction we have not yet gone in our happy, healthy, sane lives.

Creativity starts with yes

It could be yes to oil paints on a fresh canvas, yes to a cooking class, yes to an online fiction writing course, a pottery workshop, a garden design seminar, a woodworking workshop…yes to anything that gets our personal, unique creative juices flowing.

Beyond what we might consider “traditional” creativity, it could be yes to an assignment, meeting new people, a job or career, a different vacation spot, volunteer work, a new place to live.

Where is your unique creative mojo? What do you need to start saying yes to in order to kindle that creative spark in you?