The Yes Theory is a lifestyle movement created by four young guys who decided to live their lives seeking discomfort and facing their fears. Their vision has exploded into a popular YouTube channel inspiring millions of people to do the same.
This concept of saying yes to anything and everything in life, no matter how uncomfortable or terrifying it is, is meant to empower people and encourage growth. Matt Dajer, Ammar Kandil, Derin Emre and Thomas Brag were just a couple of guys fresh out of college who had no idea what to do with their lives. Sound familiar?
Instead of giving in to "The Man" and getting a regular 9 to 5, they started living their best lives by doing crazy challenges (think physical things like bungee jumping or doing something uncomfortable like taking a girl on the best-ever date).
We had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Matt Dajer, a co-founder, and the producer. He told us all about Yes Theory, how they got started, what's next, and what crazy stunt they got Will Smith to do.
TheThings (TH): Tell us more about Yes Theory and your YouTube channel. What exactly is the Yes Theory? And how did this idea come about? Also, tell us a little about yourselves.
Matt Dajer (MD): Yes Theory is a YouTube channel that believes that life can be as fulfilling and authentic as you wish so long as you’re willing to seek discomfort. Over the last 3 years, we’ve been making videos about getting out of our comfort zones. We’ve done everything from asking strangers to go skydiving on the spot to running a marathon without training. The idea came about in the summer of 2015 in Montreal when we (Ammar Kandil, Thomas Brag, Matt Dajer and Derin Emre) met and sought to have a summer to remember. We made 30 videos in 30 days of getting out of their comfort zones. Then, Vertical Networks teamed up with us later that year to host a show on Snapchat Discover and everything took off.
TH: How has Yes Theory evolved from when you first started? What can people see on your YouTube channel and why should they watch?
MD: Over time we’ve gone from doing small challenges on our own to involving our community much more. Whereas before our videos included things we attempted alone (like eating ghost peppers or making a painting and trying to sell it to an art gallery), now we incorporate our audience in our adventures. For example, our most recent video, titled Yes Theory Runs The World, got more than 27,000 of our audience members to run 1 mile each and make a video about what they want to improve in their lives.
TH: How often do you guys do these adventurous challenges? How do you find people who are willing to do challenges?
MD: We are constantly challenging ourselves, our community, strangers, and even celebrities like Will Smith. Every single video we make involves some sort of adventurous challenge. The key is making it meaningful. Our premise is that the community is attacking particular fears and seeking to overcome them. That’s what we want to achieve in each and every video.
TH: Recently, Will Smith agreed to do a helicopter bungee jump with you guys for his 50th. Were you surprised he took the challenge? How did you get him to do something so crazy?
MD: Yes. We were extremely surprised. We posted a video challenging him five months ago and didn’t expect him to answer. Within a week he responded saying YES. It was insane. We went crazy when we found out. The reason it worked is that we asked our audience to comment on his channel about the challenge. Over 25,000 people commented on his video about Yes Theory’s challenge, so he noticed it.
TH: How excited are you guys to jump out of a helicopter attached to a bungee with Will Smith? Because that sounds pretty cool. Also, what exactly is a helicopter bungee jump?
MD: We are both excited and terrified. Still can’t believe it’s actually going to happen. A helicopter bungee jump is a rare stunt where you’re attached to the bottom of a helicopter by a cord and instead of jumping from a fixed structure, you’re jumping from a moving vehicle in the air. It’s going to be nuts.
TH: What other types of challenges have you guys done? What sticks out as significant to you guys? What was the scariest or most uncomfortable one you’ve done?
MD: The most significant challenges are the ones that don’t involve us, but rather our community. In one recent one, we got a request from a subscriber up in Seattle who said he and his friends had a rap group but had always been afraid to perform. For us, that’s like striking gold. We flew up to Seattle, found a venue, invited our subscribers in Seattle and helped organize a sold-out show. They were terrified before it started but performed like rock stars. It was totally freaking crazy. Everyone was going wild.
TH: Which one of you is more daring? And who’s the least?
MD: Ammar is definitely the biggest daredevil, hence why he’s going to be the one jumping out of the helicopter with Will. We’re all daring in different areas though. Thomas is a master of sneaking into places and Matt is the organizational beast behind the scenes.
TH: What is something you’ve done for yourself in terms of not wanting to regret anything in life? What was your Yes Theory?
MD: Correct --starting Yes Theory was our Yes Theory. Graduating from university and convincing our parents that we were going to start a YouTube channel was not the path society had laid out for us. We were extremely broke and got no views for months which created endless amounts of doubt. But we said yes, we kept going, through the discomfort and all. And of course, it was worth it.
TH: How long do you guys plan on doing Yes Theory? What are the long-term goals?
MD: We would like this to last for our lifetimes if we can. It’s a lifestyle. Yes Theory is more than a YouTube channel. It’s how we express ourselves both on and off the camera. Whether it’ll be through videos in the future or through more written content or even life experiences like festivals, who knows??! But one thing’s for sure, we’re in this for good.
TH: What has been your favorite part of this whole experience? Is there anything you would have changed or done differently?
MD: I think we would have tried to stress less and worry less about the views and lack of money. It’s easy to get caught up in those numbers and to let them ruin your day. We wish we had quieted our minds more and just enjoyed the early stages as a vital part of the process.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Matt for speaking with us, and we cannot wait to challenge ourselves with our own Yes Theory!