There are worse things in life than being a Yes Man (or woman or child or animal or plant…)
I gather the term generally takes a negative note when saying of oneself “I’m not a Yes Man (etc etc)!”, but there are worse things in life.
Have you ever met a No Man? (I can’t do this anymore so let’s refer to them as No People hereafter)
No People’s first response is NO.
“Hey, can we consider doing ____?”
“I wonder if ____ wouldn’t be worth trying?”
“____ doesn’t seem to be working anymore, maybe we should tweak it?”
Very depressing for natural rule breakers like myself, I must say.
I walked into a business meeting where we were trying to nail down a contract, being extremely beneficial to both parties if I may say so, and this is what I ran into:
“But… why not?”
“We just couldn’t. WE’D have to break the contract.”
“But… would you?”
“We just would.”
“But why?!!!” (This is where my eyes widen and brain explodes)
I always approach negotiation with the underlying assumption that there is a solution that would work for everybody. It only took most of my life to realize that, though this makes a great deal of sense to me, not everyone at the table is wanting to find a solution that works well for everybody, including themselves.
There’s an underlying protective measure that is crippling them.
There’s FOMO of course but also FONCE, or Fear of Not Controlling Everything, which can also be described as someone whose main issue in life is not whether a result can be reached, but whether or not they will hold the reigns before, during and after.
On a small scale this can work for the short term in one’s personal life if they’re ok not having certain kinds of friends who ask awkward questions like “But… why not?”. One eventually tires of attracting like minded No People because, well, they’re super depressing and small minded.
No one enjoys a relationship for long where one person has all the controls because it makes them “feel safe”.
It also ends up being a life with no, well, LIFE.
The beauty of life IS it’s beauty in uncertainty, is the rose that grows by the highway, is the marriage that works out and overcomes when everything was against it.
Control freaks never agree with anything that makes them uncomfortable which is anything they don’t currently agree with or personally control.
Here’s how I define a person who doesn’t ever agree with what they don’t agree with: someone who never grows. People who never get better. People who are deeply flawed but unwilling to minimize it.
It has to do with one’s capacity to experience pain I think. Your ability to go through pain is likely the predictor of future success. But No People.. get this… decide BEFORE they get hurt that it’s not worth the risk. It’s a courage issue, but before it’s even a courage issue it’s a LAZY issue because you won’t even go to the trouble of seeing if you have enough courage.
But everything you value in your life right now was a risk once.
Having babies was a risk.
Getting a job? Risky.
Ordering a pizza over the phone? Risk! (Yeah that’s how we used to do it Millennials, actually talk to humans… so scary!)
Having a friend is living with risk.
But nothing you want in the long run is possible if you start with No.
I take pride in being a Yes um Person.
But here’s where it differs from the over scheduled, over worked, no time for breath kind of person, I say Yes IF it aligns with my values.
The trick is deciding your values up front before they decide themselves for you.
Most of us aren’t good at that because we didn’t come from homes that taught us priorities.
So my answer, if it aligns with my priorities and values, is always Yes. It makes me strong and people can depend on me to keep my word, and because I’ve said Yes first it keeps me from entertaining my emotional need for control when it’s time to mature in what I understand. Meaning, the true test is KEEPING YOUR YES when everything around you wants you to defect to No.
My answer for things BEFORE THEY HAPPEN that don’t align is most often No. This makes me focused.
What bothers me is watching people who get a glimpse of what the future could be like if they shift their current priorities, but then don’t say a hard Yes to it. They say Maybe.
A Maybe normally results in a No to the right things and default Yes to the wrong. This is also easier in the moment (whether on your stress level or pride), but much harder in the long run.
I think the boys in the neighbourhood I grew up in had it right.
Build the bike jump bigger. Why not?
Throw the ball harder. I think you can.
Run faster. Or I’ll catch you.
If it doesn’t work try harder.
If no one answers, find a bigger door to knock on.
Sure, one doesn’t always get what they want, but life becomes an optimistic adventure where the main goal is to
Do Hard Things That Matter.