Cebo Campbell

My Philosophy: It’s Either “Hell Yes” or No

Imagine that you have 1 million dollars to give to a worthy cause. It’s your money, you’ve earned it, saved for it, robbed someone… whatever…and now you have to pick some charity, person or place to give that money. How would you make that determination? Would you give it to the person who asked first? That would be awesome for that person, but probably not. Would you interview everyone on earth to find the most worthy? Seems stupid time-consuming.

What I would do, would be to think deeply about the place I want to impact the most. I would want that place to mean a lot to me and I would choose it based, almost entirely, on my excitement…on my raging desire to help that person/place and much as I could. It is a selfish thing, in a way, because I want to feel F’in great about that choice when I make it. I want to feel as though not only do I ache to give them my money, but also my time, my art, my enthusiasm…everything I can to see that cause do well. I want my impact to mean something to them, because they mean something to me. When I make that decision, I want to say, “Hell Yes!” let’s do that biz.

This is my new philosophy in life.

If you do not feel so enthusiastically about doing something that you say, “Hell Yes” I want to do that…then say no. Stop right then, shake your head and move on. Don’t do it. I say this understanding the extremity, but in business and most relationships, this is my approach. Such a way of thinking requires a great deal of confidence fearlessness and, most importantly (and probably most difficult), honesty.
It’s hard to say no. It really is. You have friends, family, admirers, haters, bosses, employees–tons of people asking and waiting and expecting you to say yes. It’s hard to say no. But, it is even harder to be honest with yourself about what you want and do not want–to be incontestably honest about whether you truly want to do something or are afraid or are unhappy or too compromising or too ambivalent.

When the moment comes, stop and really ask yourself “on a scale of 1 to 10 how much to I really want to be doing this right now?”  You have to be able to be honest with yourself foremost.

This philosophy, I think, is the first strokes of a great lifestyle design. We must learn to say no to the things that don’t suit us, say no to the things that don’t better us, and say yes to that which makes our light shine brighter.  We too often over-commit, over-agree, over-react and extend ourselves beyond our happiness. Because, in the end,  we all have a very limited amount of time on this earth, time that can literally be broken down into seconds. And when we give ourselves to someone or something else, for any reason, we are exchanging those inestimable seconds–that limited life energy, for something that often is simply not worth it.

It’s either Hell Yes or No.

There are only three things that can stop you from your goals: Gravity, Police and spiders (them bastards). Any other reason for you to do the “Eh” stuff and not the “Hell Yes” is just an excuse. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.



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I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.