Two Sides, One Issue: Should students say yes to new experiences or play it safe?

March 1, 2017

Students discuss whether it’s a better option to be cautious and consider one’s options before taking a new leap or if it’s more beneficial to be spontaneous and say “yes” to everything.


Web Lehmann

Really thinking about a suggestion without jumping right to conclusions creates better and safer ideas.

Saying “yes” to everything that someone gets asked is a sure way to get hurt. Whether it be emotional or physical, saying “yes” will inevitably result in pain. There is a lot of good that saying “yes” does, but the harm that saying “yes” indiscriminately can do outweighs that good.

A person should not live their life just saying “no” to everything and spending their entire life in fear, but a healthy skepticism to friend’s suggestions provides safety. Starting from a place of skepticism helps someone think critically about suggestions a friend makes and gives the opportunity to work out the kinks.

A person should not live their life just saying “no” to everything and spending their entire life in fear

Additionally, doing something because someone one else says so does not have nearly the same effect as choosing to do something. Take New Year’s resolutions, many people feel socially obligated to make resolutions for the New Year, yet according to a Journal of Clinical Psychology study in 2002, only 50% of people who make resolutions are actually able to keep them. Showing that when people feel obligated to make a change based on a social construct with no consequence and no other motivation aside from just allowing themself to fall victim to that construct, there are not going to follow through.

Skepticism provides an opportunity to grow. If a person suggests something that is not the greatest idea, creating conflict with that idea allows the idea to become better. That is one of the basic tenets of Debate as an activity. The purpose is to come from two polar opposite viewpoints and from that, come to a consensus somewhere in the middle. This leads to better ideas and more fun plans.

People should not just go around saying “No” to every suggestion that someone makes. However, really thinking about a suggestion creates better and safer ideas.

Read the opposing side here.

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Web Lehmann

Rsponding with “yes” rather than “no” channels a more positive emotion which reverses the narrower sight and allows for the intake of more stimulus and an expanded perception.

Any thespian would understand the basic rule of thumb when performing improvisationally: when working with another person while acting in a scene, it is vital to respond to your co actor with the phrase, “yes and.” While engaging with another person while performing improv, the ultimate goal is to resist conflict so as to provide a more fluid and convincing scene. If responding with “yes” proves itself to be more successful while acting, surely it can benefit real life situations.

An abundance of researchers have found that saying “yes” to others removes barriers between different people, unique experiences and new emotions.

An Unused Intelligence author Dr. Dawna Markova is a former Senior Affiliate of the Organization Learning Center at MIT and an author of many other books. In An Unused Intelligence, Markova parallels missed opportunities to a door that isn’t open or shut, but rather suited to be both opened or closed. When humans understand how to establish boundaries by saying both “no” and “yes,” people will begin to more naturally say “yes” as it leads to more experiences.

Saying “no” translates into missed opportunities and adventures. More often than not, “no” leads to regret from lost experiences. Saying “yes” specifically to adventure improves physical health, boosts self confidence and fosters closer relationships with others. When partaking in outdoor activities, clean and fresh air’s alkaline levels helps block disease. The adrenaline that accompanies adventure allows for the conquering of fears and broadens outlooks for other adventures anyone may seek. Research suggests that exposure to new feats brings the body endorphins and other chemicals which enhances alertness. These new feats are all possible by responding with a simple “yes.”

Saying “yes” to others removes barriers between different people, unique experiences and new emotions.

This broadening of horizons stems from how the brain responds to positive and negative emotions. Resistant or anxious behavior causes their outlook to become narrower in order for the mind to focus deeply. Avoiding this resistant state and responding with “yes” channels a more positive emotion which reverses the narrower sight and allows for the intake of more stimulus and an expanded perception.

The innate inclination to respond with “no” can be useful at times. For example, one would rightfully and instinctively respond with “no” when a younger sibling is about to touch a hot pot, or to someone who wishes to text and drive. In instances like these, “no” is of the utmost importance. That’s understandable because “no” can be regarded as a primal and fear-induced response, typically of use when components of danger or threat are involved. The word is often linked to a primal and intuitive instinct to resist risky occurrences. The impulse to say “no” ultimately roots in survival. Survival aside, what is arguably more important, is thriving, or fulfilling a prosperous life. Thriving is rooted in saying “yes” and maintaining an openness towards new opportunities.

Since survival commonly does not impose a dominant hazard, this enables people to begin to prosper and thrive. The most prominent issue with uttering “no” as a first and natural response, is that it restrains genuine ingenuity and relationships with others. Beginning with “no” almost immediately fosters defense behavior and a prominently guarded outlook. This skewed perception of life, experiences and opportunities encroaches on people’s authentic liberties, and would ultimately shut down one’s ability to gain knowledge, maturity and wisdom.

Saying “yes” brings health, prosper and a heightened perception of all the wonderful experiences life has to offer. When life naturally presents itself with unfamiliar territory, it is best to reduce the primal instinct of “no,” brace oneself, and let opportunity find its way in. “Yes” will evidently create more happiness, more chance and more desire to not just survive, but to also thrive.

Read the opposing side here.

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