I was first exposed to Derek Sivers’ “Hell Yeah Or No” maxim in his book Anything You Want. The 88-page manuscript was written with business owners in mind but has practical lessons that anyone can learn from. One such lesson includes the “Hell Yeah or No” maxim. The idea is simple, “If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say no”, Sivers says on his personal website. So unless your reaction is extremely positive about something, your default answer should be no.
Now that’s the explanation behind the principle, but how can you apply it? And more importantly, how can you apply a principle designed for business to your daily life? I’ve been using the “Hell Yeah or No” filter for a while now and the result has been astonishing. When I first started diving into productivity, one of the areas of my life that needed improvement was entertainment. I was wasting too much time watching or doing things whose main value was leisure. Since I wanted free time to be with the people I care about, I had to remove certain activities.
By using the “Hell Yeah or No” concept, I was able to organize:
- The books I want to read both for work and leisure
- The websites I visit on a daily basis
- Every purchase decision
- My daily highlight
- My daily habits
- The films and shows I watch or intend to watch at some point
- The podcasts I want to listen to
- My YouTube channel subscriptions
- The video games I want to play
- The constant digital and physical clutter around me
Now choosing a book to read doesn’t take me that much time. I’m not wasting money on objects I don’t really need either. I’m not overwhelmed by the sheer number of movies available when I want to take a break. For the most part, I’m surrounded by options I really want and make sense for me. “Hell Yeah Or No” has saved me time and money. And I can use the newly found focus to concentrate on what matters. So the next time you have a choice, ask yourself one simple question. See how applying that simple filter makes a difference in your life.