Mark Manson, whom I fucking adore for his vulgar, yet spot-on philosophies, once wrote a brilliant article called “The Law Of Fuck Yes Or No.” In it, he expounded on a piece by entrepreneur Derek Sivers, where Sivers wrote, “If you’re not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ about it, say no.” Sivers basically meant’s it’s either a yes or a no. Get rid of maybe’s. He related it to business. Manson related it to romance. I say it applies to damn near everything in your life. I believe humans are plagued by this phenomenon that I call The Maybe Mentality.
We’ve all heard uncertainty obliterated by some version of a staunch “Fuck yes!” or “Fuck no!” But let me ask you something. Have you even once in your life heard a “Hell maybe!”? Fuck no. Do you know why? Because you can’t say “maybe” with true promise or passion. Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.
Language is a powerful thing. More powerful than we understand. What you say to yourself, and what you say to others, will continuously shape your perceptions and your life. And consider that when you say shit like “maybe,” or “might,” or “should,” or “someday,” etc., you’re pretty damn well using soft translations of “no.” Language like that eliminates accountability, both to others and to yourself. In fact, I’m a huge proponent of eliminating these words from our respective vocabularies. They’re useless as far as I’m concerned. With The Maybe Mentality, you can sit all cozy and nestled in your little slice of comfort, knowing that you didn’t REALLY break any commitments, because you didn’t REALLY make any fucking commitments, now did you, cupcake?
I see this a lot in my life experiences and adventures. Occasionally I offer my time and resources to someone who could use some Zen at the beach, or to travel with me, or to just sit down for a few hours over a drink and talk through some life stressors. And by far the most common responses I get are phrases like “That sounds good,” or “I totally should,” or “Let me check my schedule and let you know” (still waiting on a response), or “Yeah! Maybe!” But then when I get specific, throwing out times or buying tickets or whatever, I hear more excuses than a male porcupine has penile puncture wounds (relax nature goobers; it’s a figure of speech).
These words, these phrases, this mentality will always leave you with an escape route when it comes right down to taking some fucking action. There is no backbone, no guts, no hardcore commitment to your word with The Maybe Mentality. And there’s no glory, either. This is why those of us who are plagued with The Maybe Mentality typically play the victim of our circumstances; why we always have something to complain about; why we are convinced we can never get ahead in life; and why perhaps our circle of friends might label us as flaky when it comes to actually showing up for shit.
But forget how that makes other people perceive you. That’s a given. What I want you to see is how it makes you perceive yourself: weak, inadequate and incapable of achieving great things; afraid to commit and deliver on it; always parked in the stands, living vicariously through the gladiators in the arena. I know this very well, because up until a spiritual awakening around ten years ago, The Maybe Mentality plagued me worse than alimony plagues a lawyer who’s knocked up another secretary. I loved to talk about all the shit that I wished I could do, but just couldn’t (insert appropriate excuse). And I loved even MORE to piss and moan about all the reasons I couldn’t do it, to anyone who would listen. All. The fucking. Time.
All I’m saying is take a look at your life. If you find The Maybe Mentality showing up in simple shit like maybe showing up for a wedding for which you RSVP’d, maybe going out with friends who have been inviting you, or maybe flaking out on a trial yoga class in which you enrolled, I bet you’ll also find it showing up in way bigger shit like like maybe moving, maybe changing jobs, or maybe leaving a toxic relationship.
So to paraphrase Mark Manson, who’s paraphrasing Derek Sivers, say “Fuck yes.” Or say “Fuck no.”
Here are the links to the aforementioned articles. They’re both good reads.