Yasss, man.

How many times in a day do you say no? I bet it’s more than you think. A couple of months ago I set a challenge for myself: give up saying no. I know! It sounds stupid, and like I’m chasing some “eat, pray, love” fever dream but bear with me.

A series of life events have really made me take a step back and look at my priorities and what I focus on day to day. I knew I wanted to get out more, see more friends, meet new people, and expand my horizons, which all sounds lovely, but making these things happen is another story. From the beginning of February to the end of March, I tried to say no as little as possible, in an effort to open myself up to as many new experience as possible. How’d it go?

Well for starters, I went out a lot. Like a lot, a lot. I’m like, so popular, you guys. It turns out, when you don’t instinctively say no to every invitation out, your weeks fill up pretty quickly. Dodgeball team invites you out after the game? No than– yeah, sure! Hey Tim, wanna go see this band you’ve never heard of? No than– yeah, sure! It’s really easy to have your calendar become overrun when you eliminate no from your vocabulary.

Second, I got tired. Really tired. I have found a direct correlation between going out every night, and being tired the next morning. Science!

Third, I got burnt out. Don’t think I saved all of this YASSSSS for my personal life. No, I applied this experiment to my professional life. If someone needed something done, and they asked me, I did it. And it turns out, when you put yourself in a position to take on ALL of the work that can be thrown at you, you find yourself stuck with a lot of work. A lesson from this: there is nothing wrong with saying no when you have too much on your plate; your effectiveness goes downhill when you try to take on every design challenge the world can throw at you.

Fourth, I found out that most people do not have a totally evil streak. I didn’t keep this experiment a secret. I told people. And I had kind of expected people to take it as a chance to explore their deepest, darkest, truth or dare style challenges. Instead, the most intense thing I was asked to do was a few food eating contests (I guess in my office, our idea of a wild night is caloric intake). I said yes, IF they would cover the cost. They didn’t. Womp 🙁

Finally, I went to Chicago and Los Angeles. HA! THIS IS AN EAT, PRAY, LOVE THING. In each case I was asked if I wanted to go. What else was I going to say? They were amazing experiences (I MET MARIO LOPEZ) and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Recreating Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in Chicago really puts your life in perspective.

All in all, it was totally worth it. Saying yes really opens you up to endless new experiences, and honestly, the exhaustion and burn-out was well worth it (MARIO LOPEZ). Saying no really gets me nowhere, saying yes gets me to Los Angeles.