Saying Yes to New Experiences Will Expand Your Opportunities


Saying Yes to New Experiences Will Expand Your Opportunities

Saying yes to new experiences will expand your opportunities. 

When I first read Robert Frost’s poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’, I was completing senior studies. Not as a seventeen year old but as a mother of two young children returning to study. I had no definite plans for future education other than to pass High School English.  When I read this poem, I felt the words spoke directly to me.  

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could”

I felt as if these words were challenging me personally.

The words of this poem challenged me not to settle for the comfortable path I could easily take. They challenged me not to allow life to become boring or staid, but to explore new options with confidence and enthusiasm.  Since then I’ve attempted to embrace this philosophy, going as far as hanging a poster with the words of my favourite quote by Neale Donald Walsh on a wall in my home as a reminder when I’m feeling fearful that “Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone”. 

It has taken work, but since then I’ve learnt there are three specific strategies that help you say yes to new experiences.

These three strategies need to be chosen to get to a position where you feel confident constantly stepping out of your comfort zone and putting yourself in a permanent state of exploration and experimentation. These three strategies are:

Say Yes.

You may remember the hilarious 2008 Jim Carey comedy, ‘The Yes Man’.  In this movie, Carey’s character, Carl Allen life, was at a standstill. He was depressed and saw no future. Until the day he enrols into a personal development program based on a very simple idea, say yes to everything!  Carl discovers with amazement the magical power of “Yes”, and sees his professional and romantic life turned upside down overnight, with an unexpected promotion and even a new girlfriend.

As you would expect in this type of movie, not everything goes to plan.

However, the premise of just saying “Yes” to everything created limitless opportunities and boundless joy.  Joy he hadn’t experienced until he chose to explore the advantages of consciously deciding to step out of his comfort zone without worrying about the outcome.

Carl discovered at first saying “Yes” was like any habit that needed to be practised until it became instinctive – a response that had to be deliberately chosen.  Instead of the usual thought of reasons why not, why he couldn’t; as is human nature; he automatically said “Yes” to everything instead. And, he didn’t worry about the logistics or the consequences. 

Seek Out.

As well as choosing “Yes” to become confident enough to journey the road less travelled, you must also seek out new experiences.  You must explore opportunities, rather than waiting for life to come to you. You must actively pursue activities that provide you with the chance to undertake something you may have never done before.  Carl’s confidence was boosted when he learnt to fly a plane, play the guitar and even speak Korean.

Maybe for you, it is to travel to a place that you have always wanted to visit. A place that is off the beaten track, for example, Machu Pichu in the Andes. Maybe it is to take up a new hobby that will test you like learning Spanish, (handy for your South America holiday), or maybe even it is to overcome your fear of public speaking.  It might be as simple as riding a rollercoaster or taking a yoga class.

Whatever it is for you, I want you to make a list of everything you have ever thought about doing.  And don’t place judgement on what you think you can do. 

Don’t concern yourself with practical thoughts as to whether you have the ability – the money – or the time.  Just write everything down.  Don’t judge.  Don’t consider. Just write them down.

Do it.

Now the third and most important next step to journey on the road less travelled is to take action. 

Start by choosing just one item on your list. Pick something and do it.  Then do another, and another. Remember you are now saying “Yes” and are eager to give it a go. 

I promise you, like Carl Allen, you will quickly realise the results won’t have to be 100% successful for you to begin to diminish your fear of failure or fear of consequences.

We can choose to play it safe and find reasons why we can’t do something.  To allow our comfort zone shrink to eventually become a confinement of anxiety, where our decisions are made from a place of fear. Or, we can choose to take chances to expand our experiences and explore all the possibilities life offers?  

I have discovered by choosing “Yes” rather than looking for reasons why not, by exploring exciting opportunities that have expanded my experiences, and by choosing to act on those opportunities have proven to be fundamental in creating practices that have not only just afforded amazing, once in a lifetime experiences, but have created a life where I live by and large without fear and without unnecessary worry of what might happen.  

Little did I realise when I read those words of Robert Frost over thirty years ago that they would have such a profound effect on how I would experience the world from that moment on.

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