A few months ago I read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, and was introduced to Derek Sivers’ decision making rule, “if it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no”. McKeown applied this rule to decision making at work, but I’ve been using this rule to guide my decisions about social engagements and purchases.
To read my full review of Essentialism, check out my April Reading Report.
Some Background on the “Hell Yeah or No” Rule
Derek Sivers is an American entrepreneur who is best known for starting CD Baby, an online music store for independent musicians. He has written books and done TED Talks on the topic of entrepreneurship.
McKeown stumbled upon Sivers’ “Hell Yeah or No” rule by watching one of his TED Talks, and many other people have gone into great detail discussing the benefits of the decision making rule.
Here is a link to a cute little video that Sivers has up on his blog explaining the idea.
How I Apply the “Hell Yeah or No” Rule to My Own Life
Over these last few months, I have used the “Hell Yeah or No” rule to help make decisions. I find it particularly useful when deciding whether or not to attend a social event, but also use it to help make buying decisions.
Politely Declining Invitations
I enjoy hanging out with friends, but I have no problem saying no to invitations, as well.
Recently, I was invited to a bachelorette party, and it did not take me long to decide to decline the invitation. Money and the closeness of our friendship were a part of the decision, but ultimately it didn’t feel like a hell yeah (not really my scene), so it was a no.
After a day of hiking, Mr. Farmhouse Finance and I did not feel like having a late night, so we declined an invitation to go out.
Not Spending Money at Mediocre Restaurants
We are very lucky to live in an area with some great restaurants, so we have a very hard time spending money at a chain restaurant or a mediocre establishment. This is not to say that we only dine out at expensive restaurants. I like to say that if I can cook something better at home, I’d rather do that. If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a “let’s make something at home”.
I also apply this reasoning to making the decision about whether or not to order lunch with my coworkers. I enjoy eating with my work friends, but I don’t like spending $10 or more on an overly dressed salad or soggy sandwich. Of course, I make the exception for my favorite local Mexican joint a couple times a year. Burritos are a HELL YEAH for me!
Only Buying Clothes that are Absolute Favorites
Over these past couple years, I have been trying to get rid of a lot of clothes, and I’m trying to be more intentional with purchases. If I’m buying a new shirt or a pair of pants, I have to absolutely love them or I’ll end up returning them. Clothes need to fit my personal style (classic and comfortable), as well as fit my body. If I don’t feel 100% comfortable in an outfit, I won’t wear it, so it’s better to not spend the money in the first place (or in my case, get my money back since I mostly order online).
Let Go of the Guilt
We all are obligated to do certain things. These could be work related or family obligations. It’s hard to apply the “Hell Yeah or No” rule to those areas of your life.
The “Hell Yeah or No” rule has helped me let go of the guilt in declining social invitations. Rather than feeling guilty about spending money that I hadn’t planned on spending, or going out to something that I’m less than excited about, saying yes to things that are a hell yeah and no to everything else helps me to feel really good about those decisions.
When I decline an invitation to something that I was not looking forward to attending, it feels like a weight has been lifted. My free time is precious, so I choose spend it doing the things that I’m really jazzed about.
As a bonus, by only choosing to do the things that I really want to do in my free time, I am not spending excessive amounts of money on entertainment. In fact, some of my most favorite past times do not require spending any money (nature is free, folks).
What Are My Hell Yeahs?
Just so you don’t think that I’m a total Scrooge, cheapskate, or [insert your description of choice], here are some of the things that I usually say “hell yeah” to:
- good food
- good drinks
- seeing my favorite bands/artists live
I make exceptions for new experiences, as well. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s a “hell yeah” until you try it.
Could you live by the “Hell Yeah or No” rule?
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