Why designers need to say 'yes' more

Take a note from improvisational theatre and ban the word 'no', says Snask’s Fredrik Öst.

Let's start out by saying this is not something you can do all the time, every day for the rest of your life. With that said, you can do it more often than you do today, and you can definitely choose to say 'Yes' in every situation that demands it, to make your life funnier, better and more fulfilling. After all, life is all about creating stories that you can live in, remember with a smile and re-tell with a smirk.

People on their deathbed regret that they didn't do everything they wanted to do in their life, that they spent their time playing it too safe. At Snask, we live by the motto of always saying 'Yes' instead of 'No'. It has taken us across the globe, and we've met insane and genius people everywhere we went.

Of course, there are times when a designer needs to say no...

The hardest moments are when you're tired and feel like you don't have the energy to say 'Yes'. That's when you need to say it and get off your ass. You'll always be rewarded, no matter if it's a friend wanting beer company or a new project idea from a colleague.

We've been doing our own club nights, our own bicycle, written our own book, made our own track-and-field event, organised our own creative conference, started a record label, and now we're currently working on our own beer brand, our own chocolate brand and opening our own bar.

There's a reason why improvisational theatre has the rule that no one is allowed to say 'No'. Simply because it destroys the flow, limits opportunities and makes the story more predictable. Start living your life saying 'No' less and 'Yes' more, and you'll see for yourself what the fuck we're on about here. Because it's not all about business – saying 'Yes' in private life is equally important.

In the earliest days of Snask I gave Magnus an iPod engraved with the very title of this column. It nagged him for weeks until he quit his job and started Snask with me. Why? Because deep down he knew it was true and had to follow it.

Out of 100 people you contact, you get 10 replies; one of them wants to hear more. Out of 10 self-initiated projects we start up we actually finish one, but do it to 110 per cent. Saying 'Yes' opens doors for things you can do and people to meet, hang out with, and even fall in love with.

Sometimes saying 'Yes' can get you into awkward and/or strange situations. Once we got oiled and naked and shot lasers from our chests in an MTV ad to promote our DJ gig in the Balkan region, which had 160 million viewers.

But these situations are often the beginning of a fabulous story worthy of telling your grandchildren, when you can still remember them.

Words and illustration: Snask

Snask, the creative agency that strives to challenge the industry, writes regular column 'Snaskified' in Computer Arts magazine.

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