I don’t know about you, but I often get caught in a trap of people pleasing that leaves me drained and unfulfilled. I recently made a big decision to move in a certain direction of my life, which meant I had to give up something else that is one of the things on my bucket list: Ironman 70.3 Raleigh.

And you know what? I felt guilty about letting down my trainer. WTF?

The title above is something I heard a while back on a Tim Ferris podcast with Derek Sivers. Derek is one interesting dude and a lot of people want his attention. After saying yes to too many things (seminars, speaking engagement, consulting, travel, etc.), he finally made a stand. If he wasn’t completely thrilled with the idea of doing the thing that was being offered to him, he’d run a quick algorithm in his head: Is it Hell Yeah! or NO?

I’ve tried to implement this in my life and it’s made decisions I’ve been faced with much easier. So what’s the key?

Make It Simple

To be able to make change, we need simplicity. Things that are easy to chew. Quick decisions. Which in actuality aren’t made by conscious decisions formed the pre-frontal cortex, but from the subconscious which is a supremely efficient source to work from. It’s lightning quick and aligns much better with our true nature.

A2 + B2 = C2

So how do we work from this area?

Make It Yours

To do this, you have to do some serious work. If I were to ask you if you knew who you really were, what would the answer be? A yes or no? A soliloquy about your life up to this point? What if I asked you, instead:

  • What defines you?
  • What are your attributes and gifts?
  • What are your values?
  • How would someone else describe you?

Not so easy. I get stuck. The denouement is that if you truly know yourself, the answer to the question “hell yeah or no” is effortless. We tend to allow ourselves to be defined by others not because of a weakness on our part, or malice on theirs, but because we have never cared enough to look deeply.

Ernest Nightingale bravely vivisected the mind/material connection by saying that since our minds are free, given to us at birth, we place little emphasis on them and place more value on things we buy. “The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that’s really worthwhile in life came to us free and our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country. All these priceless possessions are free.”

If you’re like me, I religiously get my oil changed in my car but only see a doctor when I’m sick.

Make It Stick

I love good content and I’m not afraid to use it. In an article just posted by Brian Mackenzie on the virtues of living in alignment with your true self, he states:

“There is no such things as procrastination. There is only “I’m interested” or “I’m not interested enough.”

Simple. Memorable. Catchy.

A tool I implement daily is that I have a dry-erase marker in my bathroom drawer. I use it to scribble words that help me remember my values, dreams, inspirations. It’s so easy to fall back to sleep and I like having my ideas right in front of me, first thing. It gets my juices flowing. It realigns me and has the ability to course correct.

In the end, it is about you honoring you and practicing non-attachment to the thoughts and feelings of others. To excel at non-judgement. This is not to say that you should be entitled, angry, rude, exclusionary, or whatever negative terms come to mind when I tell you should in fact be selfish. If you have truly audited yourself for your values, you’ll know the right answer. There’s hierarchy. There is nuance. And the answer is no further away than looking in the mirror and asking yourself a simple question: Hell yeah! or No?