So many of us struggle with our self-confidence.
We’re often afraid to try new things or to seek out new experiences. We feel more comfortable sticking with the things we know.
As we get older, most of us tend to slip back a little bit further into our comfort zones. Inch-by-inch, year-by-year, we allow our worlds to become smaller and more familiar.
And yet, the whole wide world is out there, just waiting for us to step out and experience it. All it takes is a little bit of daring, some courage, and an optimistic outlook to get out and live life to the fullest.
So often, we reject new experiences and turn away from the opportunities that present themselves to us each and every day. After all, it’s easy to say “no”.
But if you want to get more out of life, here are eight situations in life where the bravest thing you can do is say “yes”!
1) Meeting new people
Kids are incredible at making new friends. Just let them see another kid playing, and within minutes, they’ll usually run up, say “Hi,” and be playing together in no time.
With many of us adults, however, things aren’t so easy.
We’re saddled with years of social conditioning and baggage. When we meet a new person, we usually assess their age, wealth, education, politics, interests, and a whole lot more.
We can often find differences intimidating and allow ourselves to be scared away from making new connections.
But if we just forgot about all that peripheral stuff for a moment and thought like a kid, things could be a lot easier.
The next time you have the chance to talk to someone new in an elevator or waiting at the doctor’s office, be brave and say yes to the opportunity.
The worst that could happen is probably that you don’t really click. But on the other hand, you might really hit it off, learn something new, make a business connection, or even discover a new friend.
2) Taking care of yourself
Is it really brave to take care of yourself, to spend some you time, or even to pamper yourself once in a while?
It can be if you never treat yourself in this way.
So many of us are weighed down by pressure from relationships, family, career, and finances that we often forget real self-care.
Doing things as simple as relaxing in the bathtub, meditating, getting a massage, or taking a nap can be so good for us. However, we so often reject these opportunities to take of ourselves.
We’re taking care of others, working, and trying to make ends meet.
However, what we usually don’t realize is the power of self-care and how taking time for ourselves can actually revitalize us and make us more productive.
Big tech companies like Google and Apple recognize this and have sleep pods and nap rooms for their employees to help them get 20-minute power naps when they’re flagging. This can help them feel refreshed and improve creativity, too.
Taking care of yourself is smart and even necessary, so be brave and take the time to do it to keep yourself sane.
3) Taking a chance on a new career
One situation in life where the bravest thing you can do is say “yes” is in your career.
We all know how things go.
You study and get your qualifications and certifications; then you head out to join the workforce.
You start small, doing jobs that might not be all that relevant, but eventually, you work your way into a position that matches your qualifications.
And for most people, that’s where you stay for a good part of your life, if not all of it.
But the world is changing rapidly, and it’s now more common than ever to change your career direction.
Maybe you have a side hustle that you’d love to turn into your main job. Perhaps you’ve always thought about trying out a whole new career. Or maybe you just want to move laterally in your current company.
There are so many opportunities out there these days that you can say “yes” to.
All it takes is some courage and some planning.
You can sit down and figure out the numbers to see if changing careers really makes sense, but ultimately, it’s just as important that you feel happy and fulfilled in your job.
4) Stepping out of your familiar environment
Psychologist Susan Jeffers wrote a groundbreaking book in 1987 called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This landmark book looked at how fear held people back and made them reject opportunities to try new things.
However, her advice to empower people was to flip the script and use fear as a motivator.
Jeffers wrote: “The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.”
If you’ve been living in the same place your whole life, you might feel afraid to try living somewhere else.
Likewise, if you’ve been sticking to the same activities and social groups forever, it might be time to try something new.
If there’s some fear of the unknown or of failure involved, good. That’s normal, and something that everyone feels – just don’t let it stand in your way.
5) Leaving society’s expectations behind
We all know what we’re supposed to do in our lives.
Go to school. Graduate. Get a job. Meet someone. Fall in love. Start a family. Work. Raise kids. Retire. Die.
This is the trajectory that society seems to push everyone toward, isn’t it?
But this one-size-fits-all plan for life actually doesn’t cut it for most people.
If you feel like you’re one of them, it can still feel like a major challenge to reject this trajectory and instead follow your own path.
You might feel like you’ll disappoint your parents or put yourself at financial risk.
But if you want to find happiness, you may have to just bite the bullet and go your own way.
If you need to, the bravest thing you can do is say “yes” to your own path and leave society’s expectations behind.
6) Falling in love
As hair rockers Great White put it, we’re all “once bitten, twice shy, baby!”
You’ve probably had your heart broken, and now you’re afraid to really open yourself up to someone new.
I get it.
The thing is, though, that falling in love is one of the most incredible, rewarding, and freeing things life has to offer. If you’re afraid to get back on that horse and ride, you’re denying yourself one of the best things in life.
It can be scary, of course. You’ve put yourself out there and been burned before. But when the time is right, and you meet someone who can actually be great for you, don’t you owe it to yourself to be brave?
Don’t you deserve to take that leap, say “yes” to the opportunity, and give love another chance?
7) Moving on from a failed relationship
The opposite is also true.
When love is no longer part of the equation and a relationship that started out great has turned sour, it can be time to move on.
The problem is that so many people just continue on in their relationships because it’s what they know. They feel a sort of safety in the familiarity, even if they don’t feel fulfilled.
Sometimes, people stay in relationships that are actually toxic just because they fear leaving and starting over or fear being alone.
But don’t you owe yourself the opportunity to try again and find a relationship that will build you up and not screw you over?
When your relationship is done, it’s time to say “yes” to moving on.
8) Leaving behind a bad habit
Just as a relationship might feel safe and comfortable just because you’ve been in it for years, your habits can also feel easy and soothing.
I mean, they’re habits – they’re things you’ve been doing for years and years.
But some of these habits need to be broken for your health and happiness.
A friend of mine has smoked for 20 years, and when I ask her why she doesn’t quit for her health, the only reason she has is that she can’t remember not being a smoker. It’s just a habit, that’s all.
The bravest thing she could do in this situation is to say “yes” to change, even if it’s scary.
Most of our bad habits can be successfully broken as long as we can take that first brave step.
These eight situations in life where the bravest thing you can do is say “yes” can all be scary to consider.
But that’s why a little courage is needed.
To be happy, we probably need to feel the fear but make these changes anyway.