“I’ve been thinking a lot about a hundred notes,” Colin said, across from me at the restaurant, before the sushi arrived. We were talking about our projects, and I mentioned that the day before I’d just published my one-hundredth consecutive post.
But that was interesting, as far as I knew there were only twelve notes in music. And obviously, I liked the idea of counting and seeing where that would take you.
“A hundred notes?” I asked. Nodes couldn’t be right, either. Nose? Modes?
“A hundred no’s.”
“The thing Tim Ferris is obsessed with, getting rejections. ”
He went on to talk about how he was frustrated by all that was holding him back. Fear. It was partially about meeting women, about just introducing yourself to someone you felt was attractive, that skill we had lost all hope of gracefully mastering when you are too nice to be bold and potentially interrupting. But I think it was also, as he was talking about it, about something deeper and more fundamentally about how you could condition yourself toward boldness in any situation.
“You immune yourself to getting a ‘no’, get so used to it that you don’t care anymore about rejection.”
“Well, two things,” I said in encouragement, “One, I, of course, would want to write about the story of each of those one hundred no’s, and I would love to read what happens in each of those instances where you go for it. But I think for me the exercise I need to do is to just say yes to a hundred things that I otherwise would say no to. I say no too much.”
It reminded me of the stranger I spoke with in front of Whole Foods years ago and the short aphorism that came from our conversation; the answer is always no until you ask.