I’ve always been impressed with (and a little envious of) people who are good at committing. They’re efficient at discerning between what they want to invest time and energy in and what they don’t. Then they move. Not a lot of processing otherwise.
These people have an effective yes/no filter. They’re happy to say “no” and when they say “yes,” they don’t spend more time thinking about it. They just do it. They don’t gather options until they’re forced to make a decision. They make decisions as soon as they can.
It’s never been that simple for me.
Committing to anything has a noticeable opportunity cost. There are too many compelling options. My dad has always told me that my well-roundedness could be a disadvantage. I’m good enough at (and interested in) too many things. It’s hard to choose. And even after I’ve made a decision, I’m quick to change my mind. I’ve frustrated many boyfriends and employers and roommates with this characteristic. Depending on my mood, my preferences change.
My advantage though, is that I rarely get locked into anything that doesn’t energize the hell out of me. Too many people get stuck in a job or a relationship that’s just “good enough.” I’m not worried about that happening to me. What I’m worried about is missing out on the mastery and experience and expertise that only comes when you go all-in on something.
To commit is to merge with something. It means taking something out of your brain and integrating it into your identity. To commit is to reprogram yourself; to update your software.
Since I’ve started writing, I recognize this. I’ve begun to identify as a writer. I read other people’s writing and notice their artistry. I think about writing when I’m not writing. I can imagine my future as an author and speaker.
With commitment, you go from identifying as yourself to identifying as yourself + that thing/person/job. It changes the way you behave and interact and imagine the future. It changes your priorities and your preferences.
But committing to something subpar like a boring job or a partner you “love, but…” is exhausting and soul-sucking. Most of us know that experience a little too well. Reminds me of this too-real meme:
Committing to something you’re lukewarm about sucks. But being half-assed about things and always remaining independent and noncommittal sucks too.
It’s only energizing, sustainable, empowering and freeing when you commit to the right thing. Being all-in with something that feeds your soul, regenerates you and fills you with life… I can’t think of anything better.
Find Fuck Yes.
“The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.
The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.” — Mark Manson
When I was having relationship troubles in college I would call my Grandma Berna. She gave me the best dating advice ever: “From 1-100% how in are you?” I said something like 85%. “That’s as good as 0%,” she said, “Either you’re 100% in or you’re out. 99% is as good as 0%”
Now, she’s one of those badass Jewish grandmothers who takes zero shit and insists on only the best for her grandkids, so this might have been a bit extreme, but it stuck with me. There’s more wisdom to the “all or nothing” approach than most of us like to admit.
Elle Luna wrote the coolest thing ever called The Crossroads of Should and Must. Here’s a quote from it:
“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.”
— Elle Luna
Fuck Yes is the Must path. It’s the path you crave. It’s the path that supports you in the rawest, most human way. It’s what makes you come alive… “because what the world needs is people who have come alive…”
This is how my mom described it last night:
“Imagine someone else told you they were doing something, and your response was ‘Ooh I always wanted to do that!’ — what would that thing be?”
What if we only invested in the “Fuck Yes’s,” and otherwise said no?
“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say ‘HELL YEAH!'”