Yes and…, Social Media Positivity to Increase Creativity

“The era of ‘yes’ has begun.”

-Carl Allen

Today’s post will be short and sweet because it is about a simple idea and an even simpler action.  I actually first read about this when I was studying and practicing stand-up comedy and most recently applied to a personal branding lens by @chrisbrogan and @julien in their book Trust Agents (I know I reference this book a lot, but it’s a great book that I think anyone who works in the business of people needs to read).  This post is about the power of “yes.”

In 2008, Jim Carrey starred in a movie titled Yes Man where he was contracted into agreeing with every request that was put before him.  The resulting hour and a half is not what I would call “Oscar-worthy cinema” but dammit if it wasn’t entertaining.  SPOILER ALERT:  Long story short, he breaks out of his rut, gets the girl, saves some lives and basically finds meaning in life again.  All because he started saying “yes” to people.

Sounds hilarious, Joey, but how does it apply to my business?  That’s a great question.  Start saying “yes” to things.  Sound easy?  Think again.

How many times has someone brought an idea to the table and before she is even finished, you have dismissed it?  The idea of “Yes, and…” is the fundamental idea to improvisational comedy because you’re never allowed to crush someone else’s scene with a negative attitude.  In order to bring everyone into the story and reality of what is happening, there must be an attitude of acceptance.

“Our newspaper sales are dropping, isn’t there something we can do to bring readers back?”  There are two possible answers to this and I’ll let you decide which one sounds more hopeful.

Answer 1: “No.”

Answer 2: “Yes, and one way might be to refocus who we think our audience might be and reach out to them on a more personal level.”

Which do you like better?

There are two reasons why this method is effective in the worlds of comedy and business, and they are the two words involved in the answer.

Yes:  The afore mentioned positivity opens up the realm of possibilities.  Now, instead of shutting the door on the future of the conversation, you have opened it and are ready to explore.

And: This might be the most important part of the equation as it adds contribution.  Anyone can just say “yes” to anything, but to really delve in and solve a problem, some sort of contribution is necessary.  Show that you can be a part of the solution and not only will you show your drive and usefulness, you might even find a solution in the process.

My challenge for you this week, oh constant reader, is to try this out.  Try saying “yes” to ideas that comes across your path.  No matter what it may be, just say “yes.”  Maybe you’ll make a new friend, maybe you’ll finally solve that issue that’s been nagging the office, or maybe you will just enjoy your week a little bit more.  If Jim Carrey can do it, can’t you?

“Joey, do you really think I can just agree with everything that comes my way and actually benefit from it?”



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About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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