1. Don’t say yes-but, rather, say yes-and to life.
When we are faced with problems, we instinctively want to get rid of them. We don’t like the uncomfortable feelings that go along with problems, like discomfort, pain, and grief. So, we tend to say yes-but to problems. We want to solve, avoid, or prevent them.
Fortunately, this strategy often works. You can fix a bicycle tire, go to the hospital for a broken leg, or take your car to the garage when the sparkplugs need to be replaced. But some problems can’t be solved. Life does not always bend to our will. We can’t solve an incurable disease, the loss of a beloved, or the course of a hurricane. Many problems just are what they are, yet we still feel this strong urge to say yes-but to reality itself. We want to fight reality to get rid of our problems and as we deal with uninfluenceable problems, these problems remain and our frustration only grows.
The first thing you have to do to learn how to flip think is go from yes-but to yes. Accept reality as it is. When it rains, it rains. Just say yes to reality. By saying yes to unalterable problems, you convert problems into facts. This is the first step of flip thinking.
This first step you might also consider as Zen Buddhistic or stoic. Accept reality as it is. Flip thinking is not like optimism or positive thinking. The cornerstone of flip thinking is acceptance of the things we can’t change. As soon as you make this mental shift, you are immediately in harmony with the world around you.
If flip thinking stopped at saying yes, it would be equal to resignation or surrender. After this first step comes a second: say yes-and. Accept reality as it is and do something with it. Try creating a new possibility. It’s not the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.
So, go from problem to facts, and then from facts to opportunity. You could also say: go from how life should be to how life is, and then from how life is to what life could be. The world of what-should-be differs like day and night from the world of what-could-be.
Flip thinking is what children tend to do. What do grown-ups do when it rains? They avoid it. Stay indoors, carry an umbrella. What do children do? They dance in the rain.