“Everything in your life should either be a Hell yes! or a F**k no!” When I first heard this quote by digital artist Android Jones I was shaken. Then I put my fear aside with the thought, “Well, we can’t really live our lives like that, right? It’s not realistic.” But I’ve come back to the idea again and again.
There are a number of things we have limited control over— we need a job, need to do our taxes, and to help out the people who matter to us — at least, we need to do these things if we want to avoid hunger, fines, and losing those relationships.
But even saying a portion of our time is not our own — what about the rest of it? Which friends you hang out with, where you go on an evening out, what you buy and what you do with your free time — all of these are under your control.
Rumi said, “What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.” And this is your life, your one life, so you shouldn’t spend it on people, places, and things that don’t really matter to you. The goal with this idea is to help you see that if something isn’t your ideal, it shouldn’t even be an option. What a scary thought — and one that can change your life.
This isn’t to say you should embrace your inner Bart Simpson and just “do what you feel like.” Hell Yes encompasses the big picture as well as the right now. Eating doughnuts or getting wasted may be appealing this minute but if you don’t like where you find yourself in the morning (or five years from now on a doughnut-based diet) then it’s not really a “Hell Yes,” it’s just a temporary good feeling. Hell Yes can be how it feels to lose weight and get ripped, if you can find a way to it that you enjoy and really want in your life to do those things. Hell Yes can be studying late because that degree or the job it will get you is your Hell Yes Life. Hell Yes is who you really want to be, and what kind of life you really want to be living.
Years after hearing Android’s quote, I heard of the same idea being applied to relationships, and it makes a lot of sense — here above all else — don’t settle.
But how can you put this into practice in your daily life? Here’s what I’ve learned:
5 Ways to Say Hell Yes to Life
1. Only spend time around people who make you feel excited, inspired, happy, and loved.
Yes, all four of these things. Yes, it’s a high bar but you want to be part of groups that are loving the life they live, and who love you. Stay away from “energy vampires” and others who make you feel small, rundown, or like you’re a loser. This is my number one tip for living a Hell Yes Life — walk away from anyone who makes you feel small.
2. Make a note when you get very happy or excited.
It can be about anything — nail polish, the Mets, teaching children to make short films. But I’m talking about giddy, joyous, your-coffee-gets-cold-because-you-forgot-about-it excitement. That’s a sign, that’s your soul saying, “This may seem silly, but come play with me.” You follow that voice and you might find an afternoon of fun, a different hobby, or perhaps a whole new career. The point is, it’s time to stop dismissing what you love as “silly.”
3. Learn to say “No.”
This is hard. We want to be nice, to help out, to be seen as team players and good citizens. And yet, your true value lies in doing the things that you’re passionate about, that move you — the things you can do better than almost anyone. So why make the worst brownies for the school bake sale instead of helping the kids design the BEST theater props ever? Do a great job at one task instead of a mediocre job at three. You need time and space for the Hell Yeses, so start getting comfortable with the word “No.”
4.”Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” — Tina Fey.
When you really want to do something, do it. I’m not talking about charging up the old credit card or stealing a taser from a cop on a dare — I’m talking about your dreams, your goals. Just as you want to give an emphatic “No!” to things that don’t move you, you also want to be able to give a heartfelt “Yes!” to those that do. Do you want to see Paris? Yes? No, “HELL YES.” So cut back on the Starbucks, start a savings account, and make a plan to get there in a year. Assume success (see yourself standing under the Arc de Triomphe in the springtime) and work backward from there, writing out a plan. Or if a friend asks you to direct his short movie — and the idea thrills and scares you — then say yes, and get to work learning how to rock it out.
5. Start seeing yourself as dynamic, awesome, and going places.
Believe you have what it takes, and deserve the absolute best in life. You may want to repeat that sentence in front of a mirror. It’s easier to make tough choices about your life when you know you’re valuable and special (as we all are). You have something unique that the world desperately needs and “Your playing small does not serve the world” (-Marianne Williamson). Imagine giving advice to someone you loved and thought was very talented — who was living the exact life you are right now (now that’s a scary idea). If you had a best friend you thought was the greatest person on Earth — would you think your current boyfriend was good enough for her, since he hurt her feelings and forgot their anniversary? If you thought that artist you loved was the next Vincent Van Gogh would you accept their working their whole life as a stock clerk? Know that you are beautiful, amazing, and full of potential — so don’t settle. Keep looking and keep reaching.
In the end, Hell Yes or F**k No is about time. The clock is ticking and you want to make the most of every fantastic, improbable second you have on this spinning globe. And everyone who really loves you is going to want you to live up to your highest potential and have a wonderful, fulfilling life — or else they don’t get a say in your decisions.
And don’t be afraid to take it slow, and just think about this idea a little around the edges of your big, normal life. After all, cutting out everything mediocre can be the beginning of changing everything — your house, your friends, and your image of yourself and what you deserve. And remember —”if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” — W. Summerset Magnum
Katherine Cerulean is a writer, dreamer, and doer. Her life's purpose is to share the beauty, magic, joy, and perfection of life with others by creating works of uncommon genius and living a life of bliss. She's the author of several books, including How To Come Alive: A Guidebook To Living the Life of Your Dreams, which is available as a free website.