Yes. A word we sometimes seem so cautious to use, despite its potential to get us involved in crazy opportunities and get us involved in that we may naturally be slightly hesitant about. But, that is precisely why it’s an awesome word!
This whole idea was encapsulated in the mildly humorous film Yes Man, which demonstrates the power of the word, creating both good and bad results. Many adventurers have also recognised that life is better when you’re saying yes: Dave Cornthwaite has mounted a campaign, ‘Say Yes More’, which he suggests will make you more happy and Tim Moss and his wife share a condition they call F.O.M.O or ‘Fear of missing out’, which they say compels them to say yes to any opportunity which arises, otherwise they may regret missing out.
It is fair to say that saying yes to some opportunities can get you into some crazy situations. Allow me to set the scene…
Last night, around 11, I was out on a social with a society from university, sitting in a pub with about 30 friends. It had been a quiet night so far, and me and a friend, David were discussing a backpacking trip we had been on in the Highlands about three weeks earlier, when we decided to organise another hike. We struggled to find a time we were both free, so we began jokingly discussing the ramifications of leaving that evening, half in jest, however, as we were discussing it, we realised the idea wasn’t as nuts as it sounded, and neither of us could think of any reason not to. So, we continued chilling in the pub and then left the social at about midnight, packed our stuff and were in the car by 12:30am.
We had settled on climbing Cadair Idris, a mountain 893m tall, around a 1 hour drive from University. By 1:30, we were out the car and began hiking. Our legs felt stiff at first, and I was ready for bed, but we continued, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, blindly following the light from our headlights, winding up the path. Sometimes, we stopped to turn off our lights and the darkness enveloped us, feeling intrusive and claustrophobic, but allowed us to see a fantastic starry sky, and, just visible if you looked hard enough, the dark outline of the peaks and ridges towering above us. It felt truly exhilarating, tantalising almost, to be walking through the darkness, seeing only small sections of the environment, but knowing that beauty surrounded you.
As we got up on the ridge, we were hit by strong winds, which served only to wake us up slightly, and make it more exciting. We lost the path several times, and even accidentally skirted around the summit, accidentally starting to hike down another ridge into a different valley… luckily we realised, and by 4:00 am, we had made it to the summit. It was a truly incredible feeling and we both felt epic. Looking into the distance, you could see isolated pockets of lights from towns and villages nearby. It was an awesome feeling to think that while most people were asleep, we were at the top, miles from anyone, and those people, living in the foothills, were blissfully unaware! If they had looked up, and seen our headlights, and been able to see us, they would have seen two guys, grinning from ear to ear.
We slept in a shelter at the summit and squeezed in three hours of sleep before we woke up, hoping to see a fantastic sunrise, and grab our first view from the top (I’ve actually climbed this mountain three times before and every time, it has been too cloudy at the top to see anything). But guess what, we woke up, caught in the clouds, but that couldn’t affect our moods! We sped down the mountain, and were back to Aberystwyth in time for 10 in the morning, almost something I could do the night before a lecture another time!
The link between the hike, and the philosophy that we should say yes more, (apart from that we tried something ‘unusual’ and had a fantastic time) lies in the revelation that we extended the offer to join us to the others at the social, and everyone said no. They don’t know what they missed out on!
Don’t miss out yourself!