Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I know many bloggers out there post nearly everyday. Realistically, I can’t strive for that, but I’m hoping about once each week will suffice. I am a college student with a full course load and multiple jobs… Which brings me to the topic of this post, which by the way has nothing to do with wallflowers for those of you who caught my title reference… Sorry.
Depending on your idea of what being a yes man entails, you may have a different interpretation than mine. When I refer to a yes man I am pulling from the definition of an individual who will say yes to anything (relatively speaking) in an effort please others. Not much different than the original definition other than a true yes man will say yes to ANYTHING (Not me, apparently. I have some standards.), but for clarity’s sake I wanted to highlight the meaning I will be using for this post.
Upon finishing up my first week of classes, a professor of mine asks how I’ve been adjusting to the new year. “Oh, it’s been a transition…” I trail off, knowing she’ll inquire further. What was supposed to be a fairly average semester in terms of workload and campus involvement has been heightened to barely manageable and unbelievably stressful. All because I can’t say no to people–even if it means slowly causing self-harm.
I identify with this on so many levels.
I relate all of my inner-struggles to my concerned professor. Instead of receiving sympathy or encouragement as I had expected, I was met with, “Well, can you control how much you’re taking on? Why don’t you remove some of the excess? No? Well if you’re not going to give up one of things that’s causing you so much angst when you have the power to do so, then you really don’t reserve the right to complain.”
Well… That’s… true. She shut me up real fast. I was so busy being upset about being busy, I wasn’t paying attention to why I had taken on all I had. The reasons I wanted to be where I was.
In light of this realization, I want to remind myself and those of you who may be going through something similar why it’s okay to be a yes man.
Taking the leap and just saying yes to something you’re unsure of opens the door to unforeseen opportunities, things you may not have even thought of trying had they not been suggested. My school offers a special course to first-year students to help ease incoming students into the big, scary college world. Part of this transition is made easier by a student instructor: someone who assists the professor in designing and teaching the course and acts as a friendly, big-brother type to students struggling in their first semester of college. Though teaching is one of the textbook potential career paths for English majors, it had never been something that’s appealed to me. Did I let this lack of interest stop me from saying yes when I was asked to fill the student teacher-esque for one of these first-year courses? Obviously not, as I wouldn’t be bringing up this anecdote otherwise. I had never viewed myself as a teacher, and actually I still don’t, but the experience has taught me so much in these first few weeks. And YOU could experience new things and learn so much as well by saying yes, too! Because…
Saying yes is an enlightening decision. You’ll learn so much about yourself and others just by uttering this one little word. Before taking on ALL THE CLASSES and ALL THE JOBS, I didn’t know I was capable of handling the responsibilities these commitments entailed without collapsing from stress. Now I do. Before agreeing to my student instructor position, I didn’t know I could be a leader. Of the awkward but lovable, introverted sort. I can! I’ve learned others want to hear what I have to say and want me to succeed. (Yes, I’m aware this is an unoriginal life lesson, but when you’re as anxious as I am, every bit of appreciation I uncover is treated like a profound epiphany.) Think of all you can uncover about your self and those who care about you and maybe those who don’t even know you yet just by accepting the latest opportunity that appears on your life path. Who knows? You won’t find out until you say yaaaaas.
Along with learning about yourself, you’ll likely become a changed individual as a result of your agreeableness–though not intentionally. This type of change will be indirect, driven by the experiences you permit into your life, driven by your reactions to those experiences. I didn’t really want to overload myself with all that I have this semester (though I do like keeping busy) but now because I have, I’ve found I am one of those individuals who always appears to be moving (mentally, anyway)–and prefers it. Not that I’ve always been unambitious, but in recent years I’ve really allowed my introverted tendencies to take over, discouraging me from doing anything more productive than binge-watching a TV series on Netflix within an impressive time span. Anyway, saying yes to the majority of the opportunities thrown my way has helped me identify and realign my personal values and as a result has changed my perspective on life.
As convincing as all of the above benefits of being a yes man are, I caution you, Readers, DO NOT OVERRUN YOURSELF WITH ENDLESS RESPONSIBILITY. Your happiness and well-being come first. Agreeing to everything (read: MOST things) is recommended only if you are prepared to accept the repercussions of your decision, and ultimately want to learn from life, others, and yourself. If this sounds like you, then I applaud you and permit you to plow forward. 🙂
The next time I feel suffocated by the results of my agreeableness (Probably tomorrow. Ah, school…), I’m going to do my best to remember the positive aspects that come with being a yes man. Here’s hoping they are as convincing in the future as they are now!
I apologize for the lengthy post, Friends. I love to write, a lot more than I like to talk. Plus, I felt you were entitled after skipping out on posting for TWO WEEKS. I’ll try to post again before the week is up.
Good luck with your future decisions! Make them count.