Always Say “Yes”


“The way for a man to rise, is to improve himself in every way he can.” Abraham Lincoln

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Say “‘yes,’ because you never know what an opportunity, no wonder how odd, might bring. ‘No’ closes doors. ‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” William Shatner, Shatner Rules


Always say “yes” to every opportunity, regardless of how preposterous it may seem. Saying “yes’ always leads to new connections and adventures. New doors fly open. New people are met. New ideas are discovered.

Abe says “Yes”

I believe there were two early incidents in Lincoln’s early life, where he said “yes” to

Lincoln as Lawyer

opportunity that set the course for his life. These decisions enabled him to learn to adapt to the vicissitudes of life and to fearlessly push the envelope of his comfort zone.

1) At the age of 19, Lincoln said “yes,” when asked to take a raft full of goods down the Mississippi to be sold in New Orleans. This was the first and longest trip that Lincoln had ever taken. From his experience operating the boat through obstacles, selling merchandise, and fighting off thieves, he developed a strong sense of self-reliance (Herndon and Weik, Life of Lincoln).

2) Lincoln said “yes” when presented with the opportunity to study law. In learning to defend clients in court, he developed the mental strength, to match the physical skills that he possessed.

“Yes” to Peace Corps

I said ‘yes’ in 1985, and became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. I quickly learned to adapt to change, especially the first time I felt army ants crawling up my pajama legs. Honduras had its ups and downs. I embraced my teaching job with passion, loved my students, and my experience working in Honduras opened up doors for me later for even more interesting work in other Latin American countries. It even inspired me to write my first book.

“Yes” to Marriage

As an older college student, I said “yes’ to a summer internship at an agricultural research station in central Mexico. At 37 years old, I thought I was the kind of guy who would never get married. I was nervous around women. I thought my ears were too big. But one day, I asked a Mexican secretary for some directions. I mustered up the courage to introduce myself, I said, “Hi. I’m Terry Sprouse and these are my ears.” Unlike me, she was an exceptional conversationalist. A year later, we both said “yes” to matrimony, and embarked on a thrilling adventure together.

“Yes” to Toastmasters

Saying ‘yes’ to join Toastmasters super charged my aspirations to be a writer and speaker. I have published 5 books, each one based on speeches that I gave at Toastmasters meetings and the invaluable feedback that I received from fellow Toastmasters.

Captain Kirk Connects the Dots

To quote William Shatner, the venerable Captain of the Starship Enterprise,

 I nearly always say “yes.”

“Yes” makes the dots in your life appear. And if you’re willing and open, you can

William Shatner

connect these dots. You don’t know where these dots are going to lead, and if you don’t invest yourself fully, the dots don’t won’t connect. The lines you make with these dots always lead to interesting places. (Shatner Rules, 2011.)

Phoenix or Bust

Just a few weeks ago, my wife wanted to go to Phoenix to hear the Mexican female band, Flans. The performance was

scheduled for Saturday at 8:00 pm. I generally don’t like sprawling cities like Phoenix, much less at night. Phoenix is congested, polluted and crime infested, just like in the movie Blade Runner, at least in my own caffeinated mind. I felt queasy about going to Phoenix.

“I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to go with you to the concert,.” I said to Angy.

“That’s great, O self-inflated one. Bring ear plugs and steel-tipped shoes, because I’ll be doing a lot of screaming and jumping up and down,” she said.

“And I will be the one sitting, quiet as a mouse, next to you, emitting positive

Foreboding Phoenix

vibrations,” I said.

Even though it was outside my comfort zone, I went. And guess what? My ears are still ringing.

Yet, I met some extremely interesting people, I never ever would have met otherwise. I even met an old Peace Corps friend, and most importantly my wife was happier than a tornado in a toupee factory.

I said “yes,” and the dots connected.

Is it just me, or is someone’s phone ringing?


Upcoming Pesentations:

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

June 5, 2018. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.


Amazon Link


Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

Nourish humor and tell stories, so people say — “I felt like I had known him/her my whole life and we had long been friends.”


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4 Responses to “Always Say “Yes””

  1. […] Speaker, Storyteller and Lincoln-ologist/Fixer upper & rental houses « Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor Always Say “Yes” » […]

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