When "Fuck Yes” Doesn’t Work

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Yesterday morning we talked about the concept of “Fuck Yes or No”. And while it can be an insanely valuable tool, there’s another side of the equation that we wouldn’t feel right not talking about

It’s when the concept doesn’t apply.

When To Use “Fuck Yes or No”

The law of “Fuck Yes or No" works well if you’re the type of person that takes on too much, knows what your committed to or has less time than opportunity each day.

It works if you’re grounded in self-awareness and know the small bit of important work you must do to get where you want to go.

It works if you’re constantly busy and catch yourself saying “I wish I had more time”.

Unless you have some kind of secret productivity hack that the rest of us don’t know about, saying yes to less is one of the best ways out of all three.

If you’ve got a lot on the plate and it’s going well, there’s little reason to continue to commit to other things you aren’t deeply passionate about. Chances are you won’t find the time to do them all justice and you'll burn yourself, leaving them all worse than they could be.

The Danger of “Fuck Yes or No”

There’s an immediate hesitation I feel in my guts when this topic is talked about in isolation. It’s the same feeling I get whenever we talk about anything as black or white.

See, the problem with “Fuck Yes or No” has to do with the fact that in a lot of cases, especially around the things that take a while to achieve, action come before inspiration [see "If You're Stuck, Just Start"] and the rule falls apart.

In the moment, you probably aren’t “fuck yes” about running, but I bet you 365 days from now, when you’re in the best shape you've been in since your pre-teens, you'll be happy you got our and ran.

You probably aren't “fuck yes” about spending your evenings and weekends on that project you are passionate about, but when it's out in the world, living in the open, I bet you'll look back and be pretty stoked.

See, a lot of the best stuff in life comes through hard work, discipline, and perseverance. It takes time and steady focus that is required whether or not we're feeling "fuck yes" about it.

Strictly speaking, an always “Fuck Yes or No” mentality will lead you to pass over a lot of opportunities you really should be saying yes to and convince you to skip out of the work you probably really need to do.

When Not To Apply The Rule

There is definitely times in life when the "Fuck Yes or No" rule should be thrown out.

One. If you're feeling stuck and don't have anything on your plate, throw it out and say yes to the next thing that piques your curiosity. You don't have to be all in on it and you don't have have to stick with it if it's not working, but starting is better than sitting idle, waiting until "something good comes along". Dip your toe in, get a feel for something, play around and see how you feel about them. 

PS. It's a well known secret that something good comes along to those that are doing.

Two. Another time that the rule should be thrown out is those certain things you know you want in life, but in the moment, just don't feel like doing them.

Most mornings, when the alarm clock goes off at 4:30AM, there is no part of me that feels "fuck yes". In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. That's the exact moment I need to throw the rule out or I'd never be up. I know when I look back on it all, I’m going to value what mornings brought a hell of a lot more than I will an extra bit of sleep – most likely hitting snooze 100 times.

There’s a world of things out there that you don’t want to do in the moment, but know, deep down, that you probably should get after them. This is the most important place where the “Fuck Yes or No” rule does not apply. Ask that little voice inside you "do I really not feel this or am I just running from the important stuff I know I need to do?" If you get a ping in your gut in that moment, you probably should do it, whether you feel "fuck yes" or not.

And Definitely Leave Time To Explore

As a rule, no matter where you're currently at on the time vs opportunity scale, create time to explore. Say yes to at least a few of the things you aren't sure about and that only kind of, sort of intrigue you.

As old wisdom goes, you don't know what you don't know, and you sure aren't going to find out by saying no to everything.

No matter how much you take on, always carve out a bit of time to explore. You never know what will come out of it.

Deciding For Yourself

Like we’ve said a few times throughout 21 Damn Early Days, how to decide which rule applies and when comes down to self-awareness and your understanding of where you’re at and what you need.

There is no single answer, except those that come from you.

When deciding, take a look at your life and what’s in front of you and think about if you really want it in the long run. Put your short-term feelings aside and put yourself in the shoes of 80 year old you. Ask “what would I have wished I had done in that moment".

Act accordingly.

Enjoy your Friday friends.

It's the last one of 21 Damn Early Days


Julian DeSchutter