There are many ways to say “no” but “yes” is the default attitude of the creative.
- This is too hard.
- I can’t.
- I won’t.
- That’s ridiculous.
- I’ll do it later.
- People will laugh…
- Add your own personal favorites here: ____________
Ennui, apathy, depression, self-obsession, agitation, anxiety and stress are all forms of “no”, of resistance to what is. All are incompatible with creative consciousness.
No Often Wastes Thought and Energy
Yes moves with the flow of life — as it is, now. Generally speaking, it leads to less thinking and more doing.
Of course, there are times when you need to say No. Of course, there are people who are not doing what they truly want to do because they’ve allowed somebody else to give them the runaround. But…
But: a mindless “no”, the sort of unconscious resistence outlined above, takes much more thought and energy from you than a mindful “yes”.
Just Say Yes
This is why the last word in one of the greatest books in the English language, James Joyce’s Ulysses, is Yes.
That last word is given not the two male narrators, the intellectual Stephen or the outsider Bloom (who represent the two chief aspects of Joyce the writer) but to the lusty-for-life Molly Bloom, so like Joyce’s wife Nora.
(I find myself thinking of Molly a lot in these days of #metoo and confusion about consent. Molly… and Joyce… know there’s nothing more sexy than consent. I agree, as does UK opinion columnist, Suzanne Moore, and Irish singer Shane Lynch, and countless other men and women who need to speak up.)
Molly gives us a wave of yeses, as she lies beside her husband reminiscing about her lover.
I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
There are many ways, besides the sexual, to say Yes to life, and creatives can make each of them a practice:
Do what they say can’t be done.
Be like Edward Guest’s story of the man who tackled the thing that couldn’t be done, who just did it. Or the campaigners who wanted to save our local library. “It can’t be done,” we were told. Well, actually, done!
Look For The Positive
Be like Anne Frank, locked away in her secret annexe, writing in her diary: “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains”.
Be like Sapphire / Precious, cracking open constraints of class, gender, colour and education: “I’m gonna break through or somebody gonna break through to me – I’m gonna learn, catch up, be normal, change my seat to the front of the class.”
Choose Love Not Reason
Be like Anais Nin, giving up on what she called “the because”, realising that “in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.”
Yes to life, whatever it’s sending, wherever the ending: that’s the (creative) spirit.
Go Creative! It’s Your Native State, the first book in the Go Creative! series is publishing soon. If you’d like to be the first to hear when it’s out, you can get an alert by signing up here:
I’ll also send you my free Monday Motivator and my Compendium for Creativists ebook.