Hell Yeah Test

Let me set the scene. (OK…)

Boston. South Boston. The Southiest part. South of Washington Street. It’s Sunday. There is this open air market. It’s filled with friendly people selling friendly things to other friendly people out in the open air. The air is so open and so airy (what?!) and so friendly that each tidal wash of this pleasantly invigorating life force is an intimate activity, since it’s among friends. (Oh c’mon…) Smiles are artfully and generously cast only to return like a boomerang of love. (Stop it, that’s just ridiculous…)

That’s when I walk into a trap (here we go…), albeit of my own doing. (Oooh, a twist…)

So, you know my thing about bow ties. I finally learned to tie one a few days ago (big whoop, it’s like tying your shoelaces, except around your neck) and have joined the ranks of the dapper, so why not augment my ability to parade my fashionable skill to the masses? (‘Cause nobody else does…) Thus, like a match made in open air market heaven, I happen upon a booth of bow ties. Custom bow ties. Friendly open air custom bow ties. (Snarky comment in three… two…) It was too good to be true. (They were made of bacon?)

In truth, however, it wasn’t good enough.

The bow ties were good, but they weren’t great. They were cool, but they weren’t awesome. They were custom, but they weren’t me. (That thing did not have a hemi.) I stood in that booth looking over the buffet, listening to the owners share their story, thinking about what outfit a particular choice would go with (ninja suit – can’t go wrong), learning how they were made in Thailand (BowTieLand?), feeling them pour on the pressure to buy like the management students they were. The longer I stayed, the more committed and bow tied down (niiice) I felt.

Through a break in the clouds, the wisdom of the commerce gods (Hermes? Mercury?) dawned upon me and I yanked myself away. I realized that none of the bow ties passed the Hell Yeah Test. (Now we’re making stuff up.) I didn’t make this up. I read it in ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau (and then we made it up):

When presented with an opportunity, don’t think about its merit or how busy you are. Instead, think about how it makes you feel. If you feel only so-so about it, turn it down and move on. But if the opportunity would be exciting and meaningful – so much so that you can say, “hell yeah” when you think about it – find a way to say yes.

So yes, I walked away from taking on another piece of clothing I wasn’t excited about. And why shouldn’t that apply to anything else? Not just all purchases (a new rule I’m imposing upon myself) (oh, what a burden), but also… life? The big things and the small things. The big things meaning friendships, relationships, jobs, picking where to live, voting, other lifestyle choices. The small things meaning what to eat, where to eat, what to wear, what to do in your down time, what to buy, whether to buy a bow tie. Having the strategic and tactical driven by the Hell Yeah Test sounds like a sense of flow, yes no? (Hell yes no.) This test guides you along what excites you – what giddily excites you to your kiddie core. (Heck yes, please.)

Conversely, where possible, this also means don’t do things that don’t pass the Hell Yeah Test, like purchase a bow tie that doesn’t excite you. This thus turns into a very natural selector – in a sense, you’re listening to your body – essentially another version of following your intuition. I happen to like how it’s phrased here a lot better. Don’t you? (Hell Yeah.)