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24 Hours of YES

31 Aug

24 Hours of YES

Posted By: 
Kaitlyn Guay

Have you ever wanted to do something desperately, but the thought of it left you terrified? You’re not alone.

When faced with choosing change versus staying the same, most people will choose to stay the same, even if they’re deeply unhappy with their current situation.

This has nothing to do with willpower or strength of character, it is an innate part of our brains that warns us that the unknown is scary; it holds risks we can’t anticipate. Therefore, the fear of the unknown often stops us from exploring the possibility of something even better. We say no when we should say yes. We trust our internal dialogue of doubts more than we trust our ability to handle whatever comes our way.

This isn’t our fault. Weighing the risks when choosing a new path is a good thing; it’s what kept us alive when the risks were quite literally life and death. But even though our daily risks have changed from “will that lion eat me” to “will pursuing an acting career pan out,” the fear center in our brains that weighs risk views it exactly the same. Lion/career choice, the brain produces the same response.

How is this possible?

According to Harvard’s Steven Pinker, there are three parts of the brain: Reptilian, Mammalian, and Hominid.

The reptilian brain is the oldest part of the brain. It controls involuntary things like heart rate and respiration. The mammalian brain is shared by all mammals. It controls emotions, instincts, and fight-or-flight response. This part of the brain works incredibly fast. The hominid brain is what separates humans from animals. This part of the brain controls abstract thinking, higher-order functions, self-awareness, and long-term planning. It is the only part of the brain that can delay instant gratification in favor of greater long-term rewards. However, this part of the brain works quite slowly.

What does this mean? It means that making a decision involving risk or unknown factors needs time to be processed by the hominid brain. When we make snap decisions, we’re using our emotional mammalian brain; the one that’s incapable of delaying instant gratification for something better later.

This video by @SoulPancake talks about the benefit of saying “YES.”

"You have to take risks and say yes, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Say yes, and I’ll guarantee, you’ll figure it out along the way.”