The “Hell Yeah” Roundup: Your Turn


A lot of people mentioned that they liked the “hell yeah” test for making decisions mentioned here and condensed as follows:

We all have to make decisions about opportunities. When you think about any opportunity, if it’s not a “hell yeah,” don’t do it.

I’ve modified this a bit in my own life to be: if it’s a “hell yeah,” why not do it?

I thought I’d ask… what have you said “hell yeah” to? But first, here are a few stories from our community…

The 10 Mile Prison Swim — Last weekend, Sarah Peck and her friend Kim swam 10 miles from Prison to Prison (P2P) as the first two women to cross the San Francisco Bay from San Quentin state prison to Alcatraz. The distance is six times longer than the Escape from Alcatraz swim, which I always thought of as hardcore until I heard what Sarah and Kim did. Hell yeah!

The Plummet at the Summit — Earlier this year, Joel had an idea to go skydiving while visiting Portland in June. But then he decided to ask if anyone else wanted to come… and 40 people signed up! At the time, Joel didn’t even know if he could actually take that many people with him, how they would all arrange transport, and so on. But as things usually do, it all turned into an excellent adventure. Hell yeah!

The Impromptu Irish Adventure — While in Galway, Ireland, Jeff decided to join a friend on a spur-of-the-moment ancestry hunt. What happened next involved hitchhiking, actual hiking… and a “mission accomplished” hell yeah at the end of the day. Read more at the link.

Oh, and here’s Amber’s flow-chart for making decisions. Hell yeah!


By the way, the “hell yeah” test originally comes from Derek Sivers. I met Derek on a recent stopover in Singapore, where he kindly made green tea for me at his house before heading off to a gig. You can check out his brand-new book from the Domino Project here.

I asked Derek for a recent “hell yeah” story, and here’s what he told me:

Three years ago, I dreamed of going to TED. I applied, was rejected the first time, applied again a year later, and got in. Hell yeah!

After attending two TEDs, I dreamed of speaking at one. I applied, and was accepted for a smaller one (in India), but I spoke at TED! Hell yeah!

Then I dreamed of speaking at the big one. I applied and got got accepted, then did a talk that got a standing ovation, got 1000 tweets, and a lot of great reputation. Hell yeah!

But hmmm … what next? I got invited to speak at at TED in Taipei Taiwan. Could be interesting … But how to make it a “Hell yeah!” kind of thing? Hmmm …

Then I got an idea. That TED is almost a year away. What if I were to do the talk in Chinese?

I don’t know Chinese, but I really want to learn. I’ve been studying casually … maybe I could ramp it up with this as a huge goal. An 18-minute TED talk in Chinese by next year? Now that’s a “HELL YEAH!” Just thinking about it makes my heart race in fear.

Congratulations to Sarah, Joel, and Jeff on their big adventures. Thanks to Amber for the fun flow chart, and good luck to Derek with learning Chinese.

So how about you … what can you say “hell yeah” to?


Image: Funk

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  • Joel says:

    Hell Yeah! =)

  • Steven Hronek says:

    I signed up for my first half marathon on a whim about 4 weeks before the run. Managed to run through the entire thing after only seven training runs. Hell yeah! My knee felt terrible for two months afterward… the price of success.

  • Tom says:

    A 2-week special occasion trip through North-Korea.

  • Molly Rider says:

    I left my teaching job a year ago to write and become a coach! Since then, so many awesome opportunities have come my way…HELL YEAH! 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    My hell yeah moment? Deciding to move to Cambodia to launch a social business.

  • Chrisopher says:

    Teaching the world how to fix musculoskeletal pain. You’ll see. : )

  • Liz K Zook says:

    As soon as I finish the video I’m going to launch a kickstarter to fund a clothing line!
    I’m extremely excited.
    Wish me luck!

  • gwyn says:

    Deciding to go to WDS was a big hell yeah moment. Preparing to go and going inspired my focus on environmental issues with my art and making change in the world. Hell yeah!!!

  • Fiona Leonard says:

    Great post and great examples.

    November last year I finally finished writing my novel. I’ve spent the last six months getting it to the publishing stage and beginning to market it. I’ve been telling myself that as of 1 July I’ll start writing the next one. Well, that’s tomorrow.

    So now I feel like I have to decide – I could be pleased that I’ve done a good job with the first one and just be happy that I’ve “got it out of my system” or I could jump in boots and all.

    Am I really an author? Is this really what I want to do? Can I justify the investment of time, energy and money? Is it what I’m passionate about?


  • Al Pittampalli says:

    I’m going to try my hand at doing some stand up comedy. I don’t want to be a comedian, but I figure it’ll help me deliver better speeches. Hell yeah.

  • Dan Miller says:

    Chris – love it man. I’d had so many “Hell Yeah” moments in my life I’ve forgotten how to make decisions any other way. Years ago my wife and I and our two little boys packed up in a U-Haul truck and moved from California to Bowling Green, KY with no idea where we would live or what I would do to make income. We had 5 days to return the truck. We drove it in 3 days, hit the town and talked a lady into letting us rent her house that was for sale. Then I spent a few days coming up some business ideas and launched an auto accessories business. It was instantly successful beyond my expectations — Hell Yeah

  • Jeff Stanford says:

    Great reading these stories!! Hoping to hear that Derek nails his Chinese TED talk!

  • Kim Kircher says:

    Several years ago, I quit my teaching job and moved to a ski area. I needed a few months to regroup and choose my next move. Instead of being just a transition year, I stayed on and said “Hell yeah” to a less conventional life.

  • Crystal says:

    I really want to travel, but I know I need time to prepare and save money. So until then, I signed up with to host nearby travelers. HELL YEAH!
    Now to keep me busy while I save money to travel, I can hear all about it from the travelers themselves. 🙂

  • Jason Fountain says:

    This might sound simple to this readership, but starting my blog two months ago was a huge step for me. It’s not learning Chinese for an 18-minute talk, but it was a significant step for me.

  • Katie says:

    Lived on a rooftop (think solar panels, chimneys) in Tel Aviv for a month… HELL YEAH!

  • Bill says:

    My daughter and I are planning to set a new Guinness World Record combining our love for travel with raising awareness/money for a worldwide charity.

  • Anna Brezel says:

    My uncle went to Australia for four months. After three weeks he told me via Skype how much he enjoys his time there and if I want to visit him next week. It sounded exaggerated to visit him on the other side of the world just because he asked me once but i was like “Hell yeah” and saw the Great Barrier Reef one week later. I used all my money and now I don’t have anything anymore but some Euros but it was worth it and money is easily earned back again.

  • Matt bailey says:

    Organized bungy jumping at WDS. Had 15 peeps face their fear and jump off a 200 foot bridge! Hell yeah

  • Mary Bast says:

    I started working seriously on my novel this summer, and I’ve allowed myself room for failure, growth, and utter exhilaration. Plus, I’m going to Ireland to study, which is something I’ve been dreaming of for years. I’m following my dreams, and I think that’s the biggest HELL YEAH there is. 🙂

    P.S. Your blog is riveting. Thanks for the great advice and engaging articles. 🙂

  • Jo says:

    I’m leaving my comfortable job, and the U.S., to pursue a PhD in Cape Town!

  • jorge says:

    used amber’s decision tree to go on a month long Himalayan bike adventure!

  • Carly says:

    I have dreamed for years of living abroad and learning Spanish. Now a friend and I are taking off for 9 months to travel around the world volunteering on 3 continents and so much more in between! HELLS YEAH!

  • Caroline {treat yourself well} says:

    I LOVE THIS! Hell Yeah!

    I’m going to start thinking in terms of Hell Yeah…. cool stuff

  • Joshua says:

    Deciding to leave my job to build a different life (once I realized that I had enough money saved up to live for several months). Thanks for pushing me toward the “hell yeah” side from the “what the hell” side.

    My next “hell yeah” is choosing to write the draft of my manifesto in one week.

  • Maggie Robinson says:

    When I started reading your blog, I thought ‘no way’ could I leave my job.
    Now…. next week is my last week of work and I have a one way ticket to Costa Rica for after Thanksgiving. In eight months I will start early Social Security retirement and be able to live comfortably WITH HEALTH INSURANCE in Costa Rica when I get my Pensionada status. Here’s to the PURA VIDA… Thank you for giving me courage….

  • Jonathan says:

    I’m gearing up to take off on an open-ended trek across the United States to explore, play music, and promote my new album. I’ll CouchSurf as much as possible and I’m finding freelance work online as a writer and other stuff to support myself. So I’ll finally accomplish my goal of being a full-time musician and self-employed: HELL YEAH!!!

  • Kai says:

    I drove cross country from Los Angeles to Toronto with my dog while doing a silent sabbatical and camping out every night.
    Totally awesome!
    Being a woman, many friends and family were freaked out that I was going to do this by myself.
    It’s not safe! What if the car breaks down…blah blah blah.
    My lesson about hell yeah’s…
    Other people’s fear can rub off on you and scare you out of doing your hell yeah.
    My rule about hell yeah’s…
    If you’re not down with my hell yeah you need to shut up and let me get on with it. 🙂

  • Kai says:

    Oh and the car did break down.
    The synchronicities that occurred made it was magical!

  • Road Warriorette says:

    My most recent Hell, Yeah! moment was deciding to do a sprint triathlon while afraid of riding a bike. Fifteen years ago I was hit by a car while riding my bike, and haven’t ridden since. Earlier this month, I rode twelve miles as part of my tri! The most amazing part? Now I ride around just for fun.Talk about an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

  • Ryan says:

    My hell yeah moment? Applies to present at Comic-Con and got in, HELL YEAH. (Yes, it’s nerdy, but this is our version of TED.)

  • L. Marie Joseph says:

    I had the pleasure of writing a book and international travel………………Hell Yeah!!

  • M J Henry says:

    My hell yeah may seem tame to you youngsters, but here goes. I am a 61 year old great grandmother. All my life I have put my own life on hold for kids and grandkids. Now (retired) I go to the gym everyday to swim a half mile and work out. I recently renewed an old love. I have returned to my passion to write. I write mild horror (mostly). I have about a dozen stories either at publishers or in contests. Last week I had an article published by Fuel Your Writing. And I am working on a sci-fi novel. In the past I always put what I wanted to do on the side burner, but no more. Now I am in it for keeps and plan to give Stephen King a run for his money.

  • Lindsay says:

    In April, after leaving a 4.5-year stable, socially-respected position for a PT government gig, I found out the government position was frozen for budgetary reasons. Having always wanted to learn more about web design & blogging, I used my new found free time to teach myself Dreamweaver and research blogging.

    For years I thought I should start a website but never had a topic I felt passion about that would also be useful to others. I finally realized my childhood dream to be come a Disney Imagineer (which my parents discouraged saying you had to be an engineer – not true!) has lead me to be very interested in backstage tours at Disney parks. I rarely see overlap between the life-style design & Disney online communities, but both have inspired me to finally launch a passion site where I can work on my web skills while giving me an excuse to ride a bunch of Segways and become SCUBA certified. I’ve even visited Disney Imagineering in California and had lunch with the former head of Imagineering, Marty Sklar. Hell yeah!

  • Riley Harrison says:

    I love hell yeah moments. They are to be enjoyed and savored but you cannot rest on your laurels too long or bask in the afterglow for ever. You must continue seeking hell yeah moments – it called personal growth. And if there is a secret or key to existence this would get my vote.

  • Amber says:

    I said Hell Yeah! to going to art school and made the first monthly payment!

    …Also saying Hell Yeah! to starting today on making more money to pay for the rest of the school tuition!

  • colin says:

    F**K yeah!

    I’ve just quit my job so i can teach English in Thailand and travel around Asia and Oceania and not have a real care in the world!

    Thinking about cycling back to the UK when i’m done!

  • kate macnicol says:

    Love this topic and enjoy everyone’s story. My most recent “hell yeah” is making the decision to go to a weeklong intensive writing retreat with 35 strangers. Hell yeah!


  • Alex Humphrey says:

    That’s amazing! Hell Yeah!

    My experience is quitting my job to pursue my dream as an author and financial coach. Hell yeah!

  • Bekka Scott says:

    Hell Yeah #1 – Deciding to get on my bike in a year for a year to ride over two continents with my violin.

    Hell Yeah #2 – Deciding to make that trip a permanent one to study music and culture around the world (my lifelong dream)!

    Why Not?! 🙂
    Thanks ChrisG! Enjoy your day and your upcoming travels!

  • Karl S - Stepping Into Wonder says:

    I started a blog on personal transformation and encouraging people to pursue their deepest longings and have been sticking to my commitment to do two posts a week. I have received lots of positive feedback.

    Hell yeah!

  • Brandy says:

    I got to go to Kolkata, India earlier this year to help survivors of human trafficking. I’d never been outside the US and I wasn’t planning on being pregnant my first trip, BUT, these things happen (sheepish grin). My doctor said it was safe and I don’t get opportunities like this every day, so I got some shots and said, “Hell yeah!”

    It was AMAZING.

  • Yamile Yemoonyah says:

    Just 6 months ago I decided to go location independent although I didn’t know if my biz was gonna be successful enough to support that lifestyle. Just four months later I gave away all my stuff and left home to travel the world. Am I enjoying my new life? Hell Yeah!

  • JonR says:

    I had a hell yeah moment in 2007 when I was mulling over the idea to go to China by myself. My goal was to stay in as few Western style Hotels as possible,away from the tourist stops and the cities where westerners usually go. I’m in my upper 50’s, I don’t speak Chinese, and everybody told me it was too dangerous. I told myself hell Yeah, and put a backpack on and went for a month. I met the common people, chinese families,that made me a part of their families.We are still close friends.
    While in China I thought about Tibet and thought, ‘hell yeah, why not’? So I took the trainline that had just been built and stayed a week in Lhasa. While in Lhasa I met a middle aged German lady who must of had a hell yeah moment. She had been gone 6 months already, and was traveling solo by land, through the Himalaya’s with the goal of reaching the sea in Bangladesh, by using any transportation that she could find. She was an inspiration.

    I have many more hell yeahs planned!

  • Austin L. Church says:

    Writing a novel.

  • David Rendall says:

    I’m donating my time, money and educational materials to train 100 nonprofit leaders in Nigeria this summer. The US State Department travel warning says that no one should go to Nigeria, but I said “hell yeah!” because it’s a chance to make a difference in the lives of people who are doing great work.

  • Laurie says:

    Selling my house and living in a travel trailer! I’ve daydreamed about this for years, but now it’s GO TIME…hell yeah! I know just what I want, one of those tiny retro-style campers that’s light enough to haul behind my Saturn Vue. Then I can live anywhere, but still have my own sanctuary. 🙂

  • Jeremy says:

    I have had many Hell yeah moments and it is nice to see others with that attitude. I have fund out that if I don’t do the Hell Yeah thing I end up talking myself or others talk me out of what I am doing. All I know is I would not be engaged, a lawyer, travelled to Europe and Africa if I did not say Hell Yeah.

  • Maria says:

    Applied and interviewed for a teaching job in the United Arab Emirates despite having no formal teaching experience. However, have taught at the school of life and that’s what the employer was looking for.

  • Samantha Nolan-Smith says:

    Starting a global network of women who are interested in transforming their lives from the inside, out.

    And becoming a mum! 🙂

  • Gayle says:

    Met a man on an airplane from ORD to SFO and we had a great time chatting the entire flight (OK, being upgraded to first class didn’t hurt, either). He offered me a ride home. “Ax murder?” I wondered. But I liked him. Hell yeah! He told me he had to rent a car (cheaper than a taxi to where he lived). “Ax murder???” Yep, I got in the car. That was 15 years ago, and we’ve been married for 12. Love at first flight. Hell yeah!!

  • Gemini123 says:

    A few months ago-I decided that fear will not conquer me and that I was going to walk the Camino de Portugues. What started as a dream became a “Hell Yeah” I start in less than two hours!!!! Two full weeks of walking and testing the limits of my body and spirit-Hell yeah…living out of my comfort zone.

    I was about to check one last email and saw that you had posted. Continue the good work Chris…you inspire others to reach deep down and find that they have what it takes to make their dreams come to life. Thanks! Bom Caminho as they say in Portugal.

  • Chea says:

    It’s wonderful to see all of the courage of those who chose to dive into whatever big thing they’ve decided to do with a “Hell Yeah!” I, too, have had my share of those life changing experiences.

    What I’d like to point out is that we are so geared in this country to believe that doing something “great”, “epic”, “BIG”, is what we need to strive for, forgetting that it may be the smallest, subtle thing that really is the “hell yeah!” moment…

    Like taking the plunge to say “I love you” when you don’t know how the other person feels about you… Like paying attention to that person lying on the sidewalk to see if they’re alive or dead or in need of medical help and then taking the appropriate action without any fear of “getting involved”… Like deciding to feel good and proud about waiting tables because you realize you actually enjoy your job a lot… Like taking time off work to play with your kids… And so many other “little” things that add up to a life very well lived, that at the end of it you say, “Hell YEAH!”

  • Tom Ewer says:

    Awesome post Chris! That in itself is a hell yeah!

    My first hell yeah is to create passive income that is strong enough to allow me to quit my job.

    My second hell yeah is to then do something with that freedom (that is open ended at the moment!).

  • Nima says:

    Love this! Hell yeah or hell no should always be the test. Life is too short to do things half-heartedly.

  • Nima says:

    Oh yeah, I’m saying hell yeah to writing for my blog and hell no to all the time wasters that keep me from writing.

  • amanda says:

    My hell yeah happened while in a grad program that was pretty terrible. I had gone to learn more about documentary photography, but was getting no instruction or support. The one thing that got me to school every day was my job leading discussion sections for classes in documentary, american, community, & native american studies. Teaching was such a joy, and seeing my students confronting really difficult issues, dealing with their own prejudices and such, was immensely powerful. While reading an article in Yes! magazine by a guy who worked teaching writing in a juvenile detention center, I realized maybe I didn’t need to choose only one passion, I could combine them all.

    I decided then and there that I wanted to teach writing and photography in underprivileged communities to youth who haven’t had the same creative encouragement I have. So I applied to a creative writing program, this time for a terminal degree, and got into my dream school. I have one year left and am about to teach my first class. Just last week my best friend decided (on a whole different path) that she wanted the same thing. We’ve decided to do it & are beginning to look into starting a nonprofit together.

  • Janna says:

    mine was walking 350 km across north of Spain. I finish tomorrow. Hell yeah!

  • Rachel says:

    Quitting both my receptionist job (during a recession) AND advertising school to move to Ecuador for an UNPAID editorial internship with a travel guide publisher. After two months there they hired me on full time and I stayed the entire year. AND after only two weeks there, I met the love of my life.

    2 years later and I’m back in the United States, writing for a living and planning to wed my true love. HELL YEAH!

  • Julie says:

    I’ve started a blog on modern design. The “hell yeah” came one night when I was pounding my brain trying to think of a niche market to develop. I gave up on trying to become interested in things that I could make money on but couldn’t care less about.

    Then I came across an article about the TV show Ad Men and how people were starting to collect mid-century art and furnishings. Bingo! Something I love and want to share.

    Writing for an audience beyond work, facebook, and friends will be challenging, but I will be loving the journey much more!

  • Andy Traub says:

    Asked Seth Godin if I could do a podcast about Linchpin – Said yes – Hell yeah.
    Asked Steven Pressfield if I could do a podcast about Do The Work – Said yes – Hell yeah.
    Consolidating my shows into a single network. Thanks Chris.

  • Katie McCaskey says:

    Left NYC for small town (pop. ->
    Opened a walkable, neighborhood grocery featuring local foods with my partner (now husband) the same year ->->
    Expanded business this year with patio beer garden ->->
    Now helping other “urban escapees” harness brainpower and dreampower to pursue passions and revitalize Main Street, USA at the same time: HELL YEAH!

  • Dan says:

    I’m saying hell yeah to seeing new places. Mexico and Denver in the next 6 weeks! Small step I realize, but it’s a hell yeah for me!

  • Janet says:

    Sarah is seriously awesome. I’m in awe that she can do that!!

    I have a friend who went to study for 8 months at a Buddhist monastery.. By the end of it (and he actually quit early), he is now speaking fluent conversational Chinese. Hell yeah! Good luck to Derek. It can definitely be done!!

  • Miguel Marfori says:

    I’m going to cosplay as one my new favorite comic book characters, Wade Wilson aka Deadpool. When my friend was asking me what we could cosplay as, he already said an X-Men skit. Then looking through a catalog of characters, I saw and thought of Deadpool. I just said “HELL YEAH!” ‘cuz I wanted to cosplay as him. 🙂

    So yes, my HELL YEAH is to cosplay as him. He’s a hilarious and funny character and to act out Deadpool is a HELL YEAH for me! The cosplay convention here in Manila will be held in October so I’m going to KICK SOME ASS and give it my all!

  • Marcy says:

    I petted tigers in an enclosure with them while in Thailand with my family. It seems a little crazy to me now–maybe it was–but it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.

  • Darlene says:

    Got two of them, in the middle of the second one.

    #1, in December 2009 we rented out our house and hit the road in an RV for 6 months and travelled across the US and Canada, with our two cats. Met some amazing people and had amazing experiences. Oh yeah, we’d gotten married 3 month earlier and I had quit my J.O.B of 9 years and a salary of almost 70K to go into the unknown. We did fine!

    #2 we are about to sell our house in Canada and move to Peru, possibly full time. We also are planning to build an Earthship house ( eco, self sustaining house. Scary – yes! Panic attacks weekly. Still doing it – hell yeah!

  • Chris Healy says:

    Hell yeah.

    Leaving my job and doing an 11-month world adventure. T-minus six months…and counting!

  • Matt says:

    Hey Chris,

    My ‘Hell Yeah’ moment!

    Moved by the famine that is devastating the lives of women and children in East Africa who are forced to walk countless miles in search of food and aid and partially inspired by your AONC writings, my sister, a friend and I are walking 168 miles across Michigan from Holland to Detroit to raise awareness and funds for the victims of the famine.

    Thanks for the added inspiration.


  • David says:

    It seems a long time since this came out, but I just had a fantastic heck yeah moment. I have been fascinated with doing a triathlon for about 20 years. I just finished my first Sprint length last weekend. I was in a different age group (and weight group – now called Clydesdales) but I accomplished 2 things. 1) I finished, which is just about enough and was all I really wanted to do, and 2) I finished in under 2 hours, which was amazing. I didn’t even watch the clock. Just did it. The pictures are the real story – I am smiling all the time. Goofy grin, but so happy. Heck yeah.

  • Matt Smith says:

    Just after a trip to Panama to visit my out-laws, I was talking with a friend. She said, “Every time you get back from one of your trips, you look so much lighter… and happier…” So I launched into my whole, studied linguistics, always had a passion for foreign languages and cultures, yadda yadda yadda. She asked, “So why aren’t you doing something with your life that gets you into foreign countries/cultures all the time? Like be a tour guide, or…” And the second it came out of her mouth, I had an epiphany. I realized that was exactly – EXACTLY – what I would love to do with my life. I’ve been working on it ever since, and I’m not quite there yet. But that conversation was the biggest moment of clarity I’ve had in ages, and ever since I’ve been stoked about what I’m doing. Hell yeah!

    I also had a hell yeah reaction a couple weeks ago when someone told me about Tough Mudder. Never heard of it before, and suddenly I’m training for it. !!!

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