Business

Mentally Saying Yes Means Nothing [The One True Action to Catching More Opportunities in Your Life]

After new years, 98,7 % of people consider changing something about themselves. You are probably one of them.

The fight between your current self and future self is an energy-consuming battle that can feel endless. In this blog post, I'll share one key insight into your behavior change that gets way too little attention. And of course, a way to implement it in your own life.

In my previous post on why you never learn anything from workshops, I stated how important it is to train the thing you are really doing, not just hear about it. This usually translates into games and role-playing with an experienced coach.

There is a deeper meaning in this approach. I find that most people struggle like crazy to take the first step. Doing something new for the first time creates anxiety and triggers the fight or flight/avoid mechanism (or just the avoidance mechanism for me).

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When you are offered an opportunity to do something new and exciting, most of us just let it pass.

Here is a concrete example from a classroom. The teacher asks "who would like to go up in front of the class first?". In Finland, this means dead silence. The teacher will have to force someone to start. Even from my experience with top students and student entrepreneurs from the USA, there is a moment's hesitation before the first person raises their hand and asks to go first.

This was an opportunity to do something exciting. You didn't even have to take full initiative, someone was feeding you the opportunity. And you just let it flow past.

Stupid as the example might seem, it highlights a trend. If you just say yes to things that are comfortable for you, you will never grow.

(Yes Rasmus we've heard all that before, what's new?)

Here comes the key insight - it's not about mentally "saying yes". It's not even about using your mouth. It's about physically moving your body into the "yes" position.

That is the critical difference between a go-getter and a flow-paster.

What does this look like?

When you try to make a change, stop thinking about how to mentally make yourself do the thing. Your current self will beat your imagined future self 9 out of 10 times.

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Instead, focus on how you move your body.

When you have an opportunity but at the same time have the anxious feeling that is pushing you towards the avoidance behavior - do this:

Take a deep confident breath

Take a step forward - move towards the opportunity

(Lean forward - if in a more digital setting or a classroom)

I teach this technique in around half my workshops, and it has a dramatic effect - passive goes to active. And more active means more fun and more learning.

Parallel with the fundamental rule of screenplay storytelling. Don't have the actors say something - have them act it out and show.

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Don't tell the audience, show them.

Just like your monkey brain does most of the work when you watch a movie, so does it in your day-to-day activities as well. If you want to make yourself do something, don't "tell" your brain what to do.

Show it instead, by moving.

Test it and I promise you that you will manage to catch opportunities you've let slip by in the past.

Peer learning / mentoring

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