First of all, I'd like to say thank you to Andy Louis and everyone who commented the original version of this post. It was your collective prodding, thoughts, and commentary that lead me to to conclusion that the way my original post was written was quite missing my intent. I was trying to summarize a lesson I grafted from a recent re-watching of Jim Carrey's film, but I missed the point, and I believe came off as pedantic. Here goes a second try:
If there is anyone here who hasn't seen the movie, the basic gist of it is that Carrey's character, Carl Allen, is historical a negative Nancy who basically says no to any opportunity that comes his way. He attends a self-help seminar where the speaker, Terrence, played by Terence Stamp, encourages participants to begin saying yes to everything. Carl drinks the Kool Aid quite thirstily and redesigns his entire life around saying yes... to everything. I don't want to spoil too much of the movie's plot, in case you want to go watch it, but this is one hilarious scene:
I certainly don't advocate saying "yes" to everything -- especially given that I've spent 10 of the past 12 years saying yes to what I believed others expected from my life, as a veritable "people-pleaser." Instead, I think that the real lesson just below the surface in the movie is to be open to opportunities--to allow yourself to say yes, to the things that you actually want to do. Taking that one step farther, if you know what you want out of life and are open to new experiences, say yes to the things that seem even remotely enjoyable, as long as they don't throw a wrench in the spoke of your life plans. By opening yourself up to possibilities that are outside of your norm, you may just find enjoyable people or activities that you would have never discovered otherwise.
However, as any intelligent person knows, you cannot say yes to everything, as saying yes to one thing obviously precludes anything mutually exclusive. So the art is to say no in order to say yes--on the basis of your ambition and life goals. The guy who just wants a typical 9-5 with a decent house in the burbs and a lot of free time to raise a family, should feel empowered to say no to an ad hoc business opportunity that doesn't add value to his life. At the same time, a med school student or someone seeking a career on the street, has to say no to a lot of things that she would ordinarily want to do, in order to build that career.
Anyway, that all may seem a bit overly obvious, but having recently watched that film again, I wanted to share my thoughts. Thanks again to everyone who helped in this revision by means of your insightful comments!