A few years ago I bought a book on leadership called Getting to Yes. I think it was about moving from win-lose situations to win-win situations in which everyone involved has an easier time “getting to yes.” I cannot say for sure since I never read it, but the title alone proved worth the price. Just seeing it on my bookshelf cheered me up. Yes is a great word, a word capable of changing a life through the utterance of a single syllable.
“Yes, I want the job.”
“Yes, I will marry you.”
“Yes, it is my desire to be baptized.”
At least part of the pleasure of saying yes is knowing that someone wants you—wants to be with you, wants you to do something that you do well, wants to do it with you. Saying yes is how you enter into a relationship. It is how you walk through the door into a new room. It is how you create the future.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).