Being agreeable is a characteristic that many people sometimes underestimate in this era. We are just to use to social media alteration of reality and personality that we do not even trust so many people that are just…. kind to us.
Bein kind is the sometimes hard because it may expose vulnerabilities and is often associated to people that do not know what they want or that are willing to sacrifice themselves or their beliefs to preserve social acceptance and inclusion. This can be expressed to an extreme in which people go into psychotherapy because they are too agreeable and don’t know on to negotiate with others on behalf of themselves.
Too agreeable people don’t often even know what they want because they have always been used to accept and adhere to what other people thought or choose. This can be destructive if you are trying to build a career and not only cannot negotiate your position or salary, but don’t even know exactly what you would like to be in 1, 3 or 5 years from now.
Imaging where you want to be in 3 or 5 years in the future is a great exercise that changed my life; it is all about focusing, formalizing, and rationalizing what is the goal so that you can design the path to get there. If you don’t know where you are going, but just accepting and reacting to what happens to you, you are not driving your life, but you are driven by something or someone else. Being able to forge your own path and coherently make decisions that support this journey it is exceedingly difficult and requires you to sometimes say no and detach yourself from the mass of people that follow the flow of time and events and just react when needed. Not that this is always a sad thing, but for sure there is people that feel uncomfortable living this way.
I don’t have the data, but it seems to me that there is a strong relationship between how agreeable someone is and how personalized and constructive is the life and professional journey they are going through. I personally experienced this during much of my life when I was so agreeable and passive to other people decisions, tastes and expectations that I never developed the skill of negotiate something on my behalf and be conscientious about what I really want, want to be, and want to happen. The first time I changed this, was the first time I really felt to decide on my own, without asking anyone else’s opinion. It was so strange because since then I always relied on other’s approval or acceptance, but this was not true anymore and I found out to be extremely rewarding because completely changed my life. It was about my decision to go to do a PhD abroad and to accept a scholarship at King’s College in London.
Apart from the origins of this condition, of which I’m not an expert, I notice around me a variety of people with quite different approaches that I don’t really know how to interpret.
There are very few people that explicitly think about others before themselves, and there is an evident majority of people that do the opposite. This view may be just a biased perspective because I feel to be more like the former and see from too far the latter.
That is not an easy reasoning to decode and translate in real life, but my questions are:
How much agreeable is it best to be?
To which point is it reasonable to accept other’s opinion, vision, or limitations?
Am I able to negotiate on behalf of myself?
I feel a deep appreciation for the new decision process I developed because required me to be quite more conscientious about every decision; I must check data, inform myself, be aware of as many aspects as possible on the decision I’m about to make. After this preliminary process I always feel really empowered in my new decision-making skills because being able to decide without anyone else’s permission or opinion (which is still much appreciated) you are then able to go way beyond the limits of yourself and of those who are around you.
You can now create ideas, opportunities, feel free and empowered. At least I feel this way.
My advice is to really focus on the difference between being agreeable and let other people drive your life and shape your journey. You can forge yourself, your personality and your journey being kind and agreeable.
Finally, I believe that developing your own decision-making mindset, expressing your personality, and developing this authority on your own life, will increase the positive influence you can have on others and will highlight potential leading skills you can leverage to improve your life and that of those around you.
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