Have you ever taken a close look at the people who you are surrounding yourself with? Are they people that tell you the truth? Or are they people that tell you exactly what you want to hear? If you find yourself constantly only hearing what you want to hear from your friends, family, and associates, you may have a case of being around a bunch of ‘yes men’.
Yes men is a simple concept. This means that you have a bunch of people around that are only going to tell you good things. Or the things that you want to hear. Essentially they always tell you ‘yes’, even when the answer should most obviously be NO.
Why would anyone want to have a bunch of yes men around? That answer, of course, lies with the individual themselves. Maybe the most honest answer to that question is:
Maybe the person just doesn’t want to know the truth.
Or maybe they don’t even realize that their actions make people believe that they don’t want the truth.
What is Truth
Now, while that might be the most obvious answer to that question. What may seem obvious to one person, may not be what is obvious to another person. One of my favorite sayings is “perception is everything”. Basically, two people can see the same thing but perceive or experience it totally different. So, what one sees as truth, may not be what another sees as the truth. What one sees as a lie could come across as something different to another person.
The truth is defined as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality”.
So from looking at that definition, we know that truth is closely related to facts and reality. So whoever you surround yourself with needs to be able to relay facts and reality to you. Whether you like it or not. You don’t have to like the truth, it doesn’t change that it is the truth.
Question: Do I surround myself with people that are willing to state facts and reality to me even though I might not approve of what they might have to say?
Why would surrounding yourself with a bunch of yes men not be a good idea?
Not knowing the truth.
Plain and simple. If you only surround yourself with people that tell you what you want to hear when do you know that they are telling the truth? How do you know? Usually, when people only tell you what you want to hear, that means that they aren’t telling you the truth (duh). But, this might mean that the person may not be willing to tell you what you NEED to hear. That person may think that you can’t handle the truth or worse, they may not know the truth themselves. If you are starting to wonder what exactly the honest to god truth is about matters and the people you surround yourself with are not giving you honesty based off of facts and reality, you will never know the truth. That is not a good place to be.
Thought: If when you ask someone how you look in an outfit and their answer every time (regardless of how ridiculous the outfit looks) is the same, ‘oh you look great’, be leary.
Reality, who are you?
Reality consists of the state of things and how they currently exist. When people only tell you what you want to hear, at some point reality is not being told. If you are on a growth mindset (which I hope you are) you have to acknowledge reality for what it is. You have to be able to see things clearly. A lot of times to see clearly, someone has to tell us what that clear currently is. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong with us. It just means every now and then, we need someone to bring us back home or the basics, so to speak. When reality is not told for what it is, bad things can happen. Put people in your life that have no problem speaking the truth and reality. (Sometimes the two go hand and hand).
Funny reality: One of my son’s use to argue me down about the color of a Zebra. I don’t know about you, but as long as I’ve lived a Zebra has been black and white. He would call it every color but that. He was with me, so it was fine, let him believe whatever he wants to me. My thinking quickly changed when he was getting ready to go on a school trip to the zoo. I quickly realized that if I didn’t tell him reality for what it is, either two things were going to happen. He was either going to have his heart broken or he was going to make a fool of himself (this was the one I was worried about the most). Reality had to be broken down into black and white that day.
Freedom. It is a beautiful concept. The pure thought of being free will drive people to go to great lengths to achieve it. We talk about it, we teach our kids about it, but we don’t often make the connection with freedom relating to the truth. If no one around you ever tells you no or gives you good sound advice, you will never know the truth. Knowing the truth for what it is, is so freeing, it doesn’t mean that we have to agree with it, a lot of times we may not agree. That’s okay. Even if we don’t agree, we still are able to say that we know the truth.
Truth, as we stated above, is based on facts and reality. When you are aware of both, it allows you the freedom of making informed choices and decisions. Not having this, would leave you in the dark and will set you up for eventual failure. Truly ask yourself if you have put people in positions in your life (yes, YOU put them there) to limit your freedom of knowing the truth in all situations.
Thought: Do you know what the opposite of freedom is? It is likened to slavery, being held captive and being limited. If people aren’t willing to share the truth with you, they would just rather be a yes man, you are essentially holding yourself captive. Now, let that soak in.
Questions to Ask
So one must ask themselves,
- Am I surrounding myself with people that only tell me what I want to hear?
- Do I only want to hear the good side of things and not the potentially bad side of things?
- When others give me the good, the bad and the ugly, do I truly try to hear what they are saying, or do I only hear what I want to hear?
- Are the people that I surround myself with benefiting from me? (whether personal, financially or in some other way) If they do, does that affect the answers or suggestions that they give to me?
You. Point blank, these people that are in YOUR life, have been allowed to tell YOU what YOU want to hear. If it’s not what YOU want to hear, somewhere down the line, YOU, whether by YOUR actions or YOUR words have led others to fall into a trap of being a yes man.
If you look up, yes men, it is essentially defined as a person who agrees with everything another person, usually says, the other person is a superior or a leader or boss type of person. Or it is a person who blindly supports the opinions and criticisms of another person.
You have to self-reflect on what part you essentially play that would allow these people to think that they have to blindly accept or agree with everything you say. What words, actions, vibes, and dispositions are you putting out to others?
While the yes men themselves are to blame, I would think that we are ourselves are at greater blame. We are to blame if we are the type of person that people have to blindly follow. Or we make people believe that they can’t be truthful with us or else, we won’t speak to them, we won’t hang out with them or we will let them go if we are their boss.
We play a part in this too. Yes, we need to examine the people that we have in our life. But, we also need to examine what people believe that we want from them. It might be a good idea to talk to others and get feedback. Get feedback on how people perceive how we want information relayed to us. Do we give off the impression that we want the truth or what we want to hear? Do we give off the impression that people can’t be completely honest with us due to the reaction we might give?
As always, there is a lot more that can be discussed about this topic, but for now, think about the above questions that you can ask yourself in relation to yes men. Do a self-evaluation to make sure that you have placed honest ‘truth men’ in positions in your life. Are there other questions that we can ask or something that I left out? Leave it in the comments below.
And as always, be essentially life educated in all that you do.