Who are “they”?

Today I overheard a conversation people two people and during the conversation one of the people referred to “they” when talking about a decision made. When I thought about it I often hear people refer to the “royal they”. In fact I have used the term “they” referring to decisions or rules that I was not a part of. For example when the elected government makes a decision that seems ridiculous to us, we refer to the decision as being made by “them” or “they”.

Have you ever referred to decision made by a committee or workgroup that you are a part of that you disagree with as a decision made by them or they?

I think we all have at some point…. The challenge with referring to the “royal they” is that we tend to depersonalise the situation. This depersonalising of the situation leads to us to a feeling that we have no control over the situation. We become victims. This also leads to us into not taking responsibility for the situation and leads us in a downwards helpless spiral.

What was that I hear you say? “We do not always have control over the situation”. This may be true, however we do have control over the way we respond to the situation. This control over our response is very powerful. By taking control of our response we can actually end up expanding our circle of influence.

In summary, the more we take responsibility for our response and seek solutions to challenging situation, the more influence we will develop……

What is an area in your life that you have surrendered to others?

What can you do, that is in your control, about this situation?

About Attila Ovari

Attila Ovari is an Entrepreneur that loves life and is passionate about adventure. Attila Ovari writes, speaks and coaches to inspire others to better themselves through following their passions and chasing their dreams. He has developed his passions of inspiration, leadership and strategy into strengths through his businesses and community pursuits.

Posted on Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I kidded my husband that we should get t-shirts that say “THEY” on them for next year’s Halloween costume. No one seems to know who “THEY” are when you ask them who they mean by “they.”

    Hmm. I wanted to take art when I was in middle and high school, but my parents insisted I take college prep. After a corporate career, I never stopped longing for art. I incorporated my young life’s surrender for loving art into working being a corporate cultural liaison into my career. Later, I left that life and now am devoted full-time to creating art, sharing art and studying art 🙂

    I enjoy your posts and how you engage your readers with fun questions like these.

  2. I don’t surrender anything in my life to others. All my decisions are my own. I don’t let commitees dictate my life. Politics is a whole different animal, which I don’t discuss with others. 🙂 Controlloing responses is something to think about. For some it is an after thought. 🙂 Thanks.

  3. thanks for the add. who they are may not survive the thoughts of tomorrow. this is the greatest wish, a meritocracy.

  4. Great post. My favorite is the “society” form of “they”… Brother, don’t even get me started.

  5. Decisions made by a small group of people are often attributed to a whole big group, e.g. nations. That’s really sad. Like talking about “the crazy Americans”, when it’s really “the crazy American government” or something like that. We as individual people, and I mean “we”, you and me and everyone, should be thinking more about identification. Sometimes it can mean a lot really.
    Reminds me of a conversation the author Derrick Jensen writes about in one of his 2 volumes of “Endgame”:
    I have another friend who called me and said, ‘How much longer do you think we’re going to be in Iraq?’ I looked around and was like, ‘I thought we were in Northern California.’ And he was like, ‘No, Derrick, how much longer do you think our troops will be in Iraq?’ I said, ‘I got troops? That’s great. Can I tell them to go blow up a damn or something for me?’ And he’s like, ‘You know, this is why I only call you about once a month, Derrick.’

  6. Great post! It’s often too easy to dismiss something you disagree with by saying “Well I didn’t have anything to do with it; it was all them.”

  7. Our response – you make a beautiful point that also applies to ‘they’ and ‘them’ which many of us often miss. I tend to laugh at the ‘they’ do that (usually bad), but ‘we’ do this (usually good) syndrome generally exhibited within some organizations. Maybe I should start actively responding to these situations! – Boyd

  8. Thanks for this thought provoking post. I’ll enjoy sitting with those two questions, and exploring my personal perspective on this. I’m all for taking personal responsibility and expanding my circle of influence, but I know I don’t always succeed.

  9. thanks for this reminder to be more mindful

  10. These are very good questions. I think my schedule is something I surrender too easily to the control of others. I live by my schedule so its not that I am being led away on every lark. It is that I fail many times to prioritize.

  11. Hi Attila,

    I guess the use of the term ” they” somehow absolves us of any responsibility. In that I guess we use it to ward off any criticism that we are afraid might stick on us.I have frequently found myself using the word ” One” instead of ” I” when I am in fact relating something personal. When I think of this, I realise that I do this when I somehow feel diifident about the aspect being discussed.

    Great perspective,great post.


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