Last modified 18/01/18

‘Yes and’ yourself towards more opportunities and creativity

by Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

Yes but

‘Yes but, yes but, yes but’, we hear this phrase so often it can stop us from pursuing our dreams.

You probably recognize this. Often we want to do something, but we see the obstacles. We don’t do it because … it wouldn’t work anyway.

If it weren’t our parents saying ‘yes but’, then it was a teacher or a colleague. Or even worse, with time, we internalised ‘yes but’ and made it our own.

The problem is, the ‘yes but’ makes us more careful, defensive and suspicious. It takes us to the side-line of our own life.

Yes and

I learned about the opposite approach ‘yes and’ a bit more than a year ago at the launch event of Opiniewolven where it was introduced to me by Cyriel Kortleven.

As simple as the idea of saying ‘yes and’ instead of ‘yes but’ is, it was a real eye-opener to me.

I immediately started to apply it when problems or opportunities presented themselves.

New opportunities

For example some months ago I was going for a drink with a friend on Friday after work. The first thing she tells me is ‘we are looking for a moderator for a public debate this Monday’.

I took me just a few seconds to silence the ‘yes but’ and say ‘yes!’. Yes and if I do this, then other opportunities will come along.

Moderating had been for a while a thing I wanted to add to my portfolio. And as the story goes, next week I will be on stage at the Ancienne Belgique for moderating a public debate.

The ‘yes and’ attitude in life takes you to the next level and also it opens up possibilities you hadn’t event thought of.

‘Yes and’ is also the number one exercise for improvisation theatre. Thinking ‘yes and’ makes the way for creativity.

Do you agree? Do you have experience with this attitude?