Just say yes

birds, Canon Digital Rebel

Watch this ad and let it blow your mind. It is one of the most beautiful little films I have ever seen…and was filmed in/near my neighborhood. Pure superhero color. {via Jennifer Paddack-Hyde}

I heard an interview this week with the author Patricia Ryan Madson who wrote a book called Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up. She is an improv teacher at Stanford, but has translated the principles of improv acting into rules for life. From her website: “A book that teaches the principles of improvisation as guidance for a life of adventure and meaning.”

One of the maxims of the book, “Just say yes” spoke volumes to me. Without even having to read the book, that phrase shifted my thinking yesterday. What if my default was yes? What if, whenever I was on the fence about something, hemming and hawing about whether to go or stay, buy it or not, say something or not, my default was to just say yes? How would my life shift? What kind of adventures would I have?

It’s easy to stay safe. To do it the same way we always have, to stay inside instead of going out, to not say hello to the cute boy/girl when we could, to wait and wait and wait wondering if we should buy the ticket to Paris…

How would your life change if you spent 2006 just saying yes?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. Linus

    Hi Andrea
    You might like Danny Wallace’s book ‘Yes Man’ on this subject – http://www.dannywallace.com

  2. Marilyn

    Hmmmm…’06 as “The Year of Yes”…I like it. 🙂

  3. Julia

    If I said yes without hesitating, in 2006 I would move to an exciting new place and begin my life, and career over. I’ve been trying to find the courage and means to do this for a few years now…. Thanks for this post. I needed to really hear some of the ideas you expressed here.

  4. delia~rose

    i like this question.
    it’s BIG~~~~
    and it’s IN me now, so there’s no telling WHAT will happen!!!

  5. Heather

    Wow, I had chills during that whole video, very cool.

  6. sheshe

    well, i kinda have to say that i am mostly a “yes” girl. i do say yes to a lot of life’s adventures. i will say that this attitude certainly keeps me on my toes. weeeee. sometimes though it gets me in trouble. but i like the fact that i dare take risks because i learn a lot about myself and life that way. even though i’m always falling and with skinned knees. i encourage you to make 2006 a yes year and then spill on the adventures into this journal of yours.

  7. susan

    I think we should all just say YES to Superhero, and the world would be a better place! Thanks for your blog, it made 2005 a better year for me, for sure!

  8. jennifer

    that is TRUly one of the most beautiful films…you are so right. my stream broke up a million times so i never got to see it thru…but wow…my plea to be ‘lifted’ this afternoon has been answered. i’m craving rubber balls now. yum.
    any idea who does that song??? i NEED it.
    thanks andrea…and have a blessed 2006.

  9. Ashley

    Please check one:
    [X] YES!
    [ ] no
    [X] Set as default?
    If I said YES to more things this year, I would:
    *Tell a special someone, “I love you!”
    * Make a tribute book for someone (Thank you, Andrea, for the idea)
    *Get a job and find a research project to get involved in (I’m a biochem major)
    *Take more risks, look more people in the eye, not let fear rule
    * Explore my college campus, visit the art museum, and go eagle watching at the river.

  10. liz elayne

    Oh I love this. Thank you for this invitation. What would happen? Right away I thought: Watch out! Here I come!

  11. ash

    I’m going to start saying yes to the right people. Yes to the right ideas. Yes to the one man who really needs to hear a yes from me right now. I’m not even going to wait until 2006.

  12. Gavin

    Just stumbled across your journal for the first time. Do I plan to return? Why, of course, YES!

  13. Sue

    its funny – i have dubbed next year, the year of yes and risk. To take the least practical route, to do the opposite of what I usually do, to take risks and to believe that it will lead me to greatness. And I am looking forward to it. And I can feel the confidence building already.
    Yes to whatever the universe brings.

  14. gkgirl

    first of all, that ad is outright amazingly breathtaking…the whole thing, the slowness, the movement, the color, the music, oh my god the music…i’m in love with that ad….
    and i think i am going to try to keep that
    philosophy about yes in the back of my mind
    over the next little while…just to see…
    who knows what could happen…

  15. Felicity

    awesome commercial!

  16. wn

    “The year of YES” (to quote another reader)…it’s big…REAL BIG. Exciting too, I think we should pass it on!
    I am actually planning on saying YES to something big, a fundamental change in my career. I am scared out of my mind but the thing I realized over Christmas is that I am even more scarred to say NO…because I’ll never know what could have been. A leap of faith, to say the least.
    That’s my only resolution (if you can call it that); Take chances on what feels right; trust my intuition; don’t be afraid to leap.
    I hope you are having some great family time during this holiday time. I hope for you, Matt and your whole family that this coming year is one of health, success, happiness and fulfillment.

  17. Alison

    Oooh, I love that ad! I saw so many pictures of it when it was filmed (of course, I can’t find ANY now), and I wondered at the time if I would ever get a chance to see the finished product. Thanks for linking it – I especially love the point (around 25% through) where the pink balls are flying down the stairwell to join the big river of the rest of the balls – I can picture them all yelling, “Hey! Hey guys! Wait up, we’re coming!!” Also – the frog in the drainpipe surrendering to the balls pushing him out – hilarious.

  18. katherine

    . . . as a classically trained actress in my twenties, I took improv classes and learned the Yes rule, and applied it to my life as well. May I just share that that stuff can lead a gal into a lot of trouble but yeah, okay, a very interesting life 🙂 May I also share that I’ve discovered that No has some very fine virtues, too 🙂

  19. thodarumm

    I am going nuts. I cannot play the clip in its entirety. Anybody here have any suggestions.I tried both IE and Firefox and have the lastest Quicktime ( I think, will double check).But I am going to check out the improv book. 🙂

  20. amanda

    i’m so glad i visited your site before i got off the computer. i said to myself “time to get off amanda, wait…check out andrea’s site first”
    i was feeling bored with everything, lack of creative ideas coming to me, then i watched the film. i found it to be very inspiring, so simple and beautiful. the world needs more bouncing colour.
    thank you!

  21. Corey

    When I saw your last sentence a chill went through me..I wrote something similar in my blog…
    “…life is too short to say no…
    I left a beautiful country on a yes for love…
    love has lessons that nothing better can give
    even if it hurts sometimes
    A leap of faith has given me many adventures- most I never dreamt possible!
    Life is here for us to dance in….sing your song
    dance in all weather!”
    Your thoughts, creative energy and insights are generous and inspiring! i look forward to listening to your writings;

  22. la vie en rose

    What an excellent suggestion!!!

  23. thodarumm

    Alright, alright…can you see me grinning?
    Yes, yes, I saw the BBB, beautiful bouncy balls.
    Ready to jump in shower and come out smiling. Thank you!
    Oh forgot, for other impatient people like me out there, please wait for the clip to load completely and then click ‘Play’…:)

  24. G-Man

    Great post. It’s all about positivity folks.
    Smile. Stay strong. Give peace a chance.

  25. Baltazar Ray

    Here’s something I read from somewhere:
    If you don’t drink to avoid dying,
    If you don’t eat to avoid dying,
    If you don’t smoke to avoid dying,
    and if you see a beautiful woman
    and don’t go after her,
    then you might as well be buried
    Tonino Tola
    75 years old farmer
    Sardina, Italy
    Baltazar Ray

  26. cpr

    The song from that commercial is from the artist Jose Gonzalez and in on his CD Veneer, which I just got for Christmas. It’s a nice CD. He’s very talented. You can hear clips on amazon. Andrea, I love your blog and your photos. I strive to be as creative as you.

  27. jack

    i love this post.
    you’re SO AMAZING!!

  28. Cinzia

    If I said YES, I’d quit my job and spend three months in Oaxaca, Mexico attending a language course. Then I’d be back for the summer and then another three months in Vancouver. Then I’d be back around Christmas and start working on my dream of opening a bookstore. But why is it so difficult to say YES?

  29. Kris Tung

    Hi Superhero,
    I found your blog from SARK’s site and I absolutely love it! Thanks! And let’s say “yes”!

  30. Donavan

    Oh, YES!!!

  31. phillippa

    i said yes for love and moved to paris from SF recently. thanks for the reminder that although its a bit hard at times, i am blessed.

  32. christina

    Thank you for this! Yes. Yes. Yes.

  33. Laura

    I bought a small piece of word art a few months ago, I liked it so much I bought one for a friend, too. It says
    to whimsey
    to possibility
    to exceeding your ceiling.
    to passion
    to vulnerability
    to intimacy with power.
    to unknowns
    to discomforts
    to stretching your beliefs.
    by saying yes the extradordinary adventure begins.
    -mary anne radmacher

  34. Pamela

    Despite my drippy headcold, despite the inability to hear properly through my cottony ears, I was utterly uplifted by the ad. It’s been years since I’ve found myself in the streets of San Francisco, and it was so great to see it in such an alive way. At one point I imagined I was one of those vibrant balls, boinging and bouncing down the sunny street! I kept wondering how/if they were able to gather them all up again.
    What a spectacular ad, love the song, and love the idea of embracing the idea of the instinctual YES!

  35. Zork

    I hate ads generally, but I love this one. Thanks for posting a link to it. It really is exceptional.

  36. m

    hummm but I find there is a huge amount of NO’s i have to say before I can have the space to say yes…

  37. Jenn

    I love this post…. I was thinking how I could apply this to many areas of my life. I love the idea. Sounds like a wonderful way to start off 2006. I think when I start to doubt my money issues, or what whant to do with my life I am going to start by saying yes. Yes I have enough and yes, I will figure it out. It already starts a shift inside. I love it! Thank you for sharing.
    I wish you and Matt a lovely New Years.

  38. Patricia Ryan Madson

    What a thrill to have Improv Wisdom mentioned on your beautiful site. Yes, the rule of YES is a wonderful challenge. It invites us to invest ourselves in life and nourish our optimism, our hope, our vision. To say yes to life seems the ultimate affirmation. While not always easy, as some of your readers aptly point out, it shows wisdom and gratitude.
    May 2006 indeed be the YEAR OF YES!

  39. jan

    thanks for reminding me to say yes!

  40. Swirly

    I would have more wild, spur of the moment adventures!

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