Two Words That Can Forever Shape Your Life


Jeff Shinabarger is a Christian social entrepreneur and founder of Plywood People. He argues that two words have the ability to change everything in his new book, "Yes or No: How Your Everyday Decisions Will Forever Shape Your Life." Here we discuss the power of the words "yes" and "no" and how we can leverage their power to better shape our lives. RNS: Why “yes” and “no”? What intrigued you about these two words?

JS: It’s amazing how two words have the ability to change everything. Most decisions ultimately come down to the moment when you choose to say yes or no. I believe that these words are the most powerful in the dictionary. They define what we love, what we will be known for, and what we will do with our lives. These words can both open doors to new places and close doors to old spaces. Yes and no begin new stories and end old plot lines. They are definitive words: words that significantly change the trajectory of life.

When you say yes or no, you give new direction to where you are going and what is still to come. Yes or no determines the hours you will spend in a job. Yes or no makes a commitment to a lifelong relationship. Yes or no shapes your character in times of stress. Yes or no brings you breathlessly to the doctor’s office to hear the heartbeat of a child. Yes or no commits you to buy and pay for a car and even a house. Yes or no is what leaves you anxiously waiting to hear if an investor chooses to give your idea funding or supports your social cause to help people in need. Most decisions come down to two small words that define everything. Those words are yes and no.

RNS: Can you point to the critical moments when a particular “yes” or a “no” changed the course of your own life?