We live in an ‘either’ – ‘or’ world. Time to embrace ‘yes, and…’

January 7th, 2012

The conversation went something like this.

Me: I’m thinking of getting an e-reader, probably a kindle. It means I can carry lots of books with me and always have something to read. And it looks kinda cool.

Friend 1: Oh, no, I could never use an e-reader. I like books. Paper books.

Friend 2: Me too. I would never use one of those. I like books.

End of conversation.

I never said I was giving up paper books. I like books too. I like to write in the margins. I like to pile them up in my office, to sit on the floor surrounded by them looking for just the right quote or paragraph (this is how serendipity happens for me). And…, I want an e-reader.

Sure, life is about making choices. Sometimes it’s not possible to do both, to be in two places at once, to buy both frocks.

And it’s also about knowing when the choice is not black or white. It’s about being mindful of what’s possible, of noticing your first response and allowing other responses in before jumping to a conclusion. I know I’ve forgotten to ‘yes, and…’ when I start with a No. No, I couldn’t do that. No, it wouldn’t work. No, that’s wrong. No, I don’t like that idea.

Adopting a ‘yes, and…’ mindset is all about accepting offers. You don’t need to like the offer, or even follow-through. It’s about the initial moment of acceptance rather than rejection. It’s about seeing that there’s more to making a choice than it’s either this or it’s either that. It’s about noticing the offer in what others say and do. Sometimes it’s hard to notice an offer – it’s a small offer, or it’s tentative, or it’s hidden amongst a whole lot of noise. Make big offers yourself. Notice the offer in what others say and do.

To accept is such a gift. To be accepted is such an honour.


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