Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yes and No People

I'm in the middle of reading a fascinating book.  Full review when I finish.

In one section, the author states that there are 'Yes' people and there are 'No" people, and that 'Yes' people are rewarded by the adventures they have and 'No' people are rewarded by the security they bring into their lives.

So much in that little statement.  He writes that there are many more 'No' people, and you see this soooo much: people who have always wanted to write a book but never got around to it, people who go to the same vacation spot every year, people who hate a job and stick with it.  It's natural, organisms tend toward homeostasis.  "The over-grazed pasture here is my ancestral homeland, we will not leave for those green hills..."

There are always a few who take challenges, a few 'Yes' people, and they drag civilization along behind them, otherwise our species would have died an embarrassing, boring, entropy death long ago.  And there are always 'No' people who specialize in trying to rein in and control the 'Yes' people.

Looking at my writing and things I sound, martially, like a 'No' person.  Everything is presented as a tool to come home safe, to keep my homeostasis.  But it is a big element of the 'Yes' part of my life as well.  I intend to go into unsafe places.  That's not "No' person behavior.   I need the tools to come home.

So here's the thing we maybe all need to think about with our martial arts training.
Why do we do it?
Do we do it so we can then take risks with better chances?
Or do we train so that we get that feeling, but then never actually take the risks.  Does MA help us (me, you) become a more effective 'Yes' person?  Or just give us a beard we can hide behind and pretend to be explorers while never actually taking the risks?

And that's just in application.  In training, do we give over our agency to someone with a title so we don't have to think for ourselves?  Avoid training with strangers or new ideas to maintain our level of comfort?  Accept that our instructor's superior years of training in some way requires us to act and think like dutiful children instead of men and women?

Or do we brawl and challenge and play?  Look for things so different that they will shift everything we thought we knew?  Try to find those edges of fear and exhaustion where the world changes?

In the end, is your training about being comfortable?  Or being incredible?


JessicaLee said...

Per usual your blog gets me thinking and it will probably roll around in there for quite some time. Good stuff Rory!

April said...

I wonder, is it possible to switch from being a No person to a Yes person? Or are we stuck in one or the other by the time we reach adulthood? (Or does it get fixed even earlier than that?)

Quint Oga-Baldwin said...

Sounds like Carol Dweck's stuff...

Josh Kruschke said...

To live or to thrive?

You all ways ask the good questions.


Anonymous said...

The answer is simple -- "d. All the above". To be able to say "yes" and "No". Doing that form for the 100th time totally exhausted but still with the power speed, precision and spirit of that one form. Before you can blink your body reacts with a block,punch, feet and body shift to a perfect balance.

Oh yeah...

Kasey said...

In regard to the last paragraph. There is a phrase I have become fond of.

"If training was supposed to be easy it would be called your mom"

Feel free to use that as needed :)

Wayne said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I enjoy reading books along those lines, why do we do things, how do we make dcisions, etc.

Am I a yes or no man? I've seen both sides in me at various times. At times it seems if I'm surrounded with a lot of "no" people I'll be the one that will try to stand up and say yes. Sometimes it has workedm others it hasn't. That is half the fun at times though, seeing what happens.

To answer your question at the endI want to be challenged in my training as that is what will make me better. Hell I want to be challenged in my job too. I find I push myself more (mentally or physically) when challenged. Being challenged and coming out ahead is a great feeling.

Toby said...


Mac said...

Or a desperate search for credability (mispelling deliberate)?