“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” – Niccolò Machiavelli
Machiavelli hits the nail right on the head with this line.
Surround yourself with “Yes” men and you will never hear the honest truth again. To me, the need to have the truth is vastly greater than to being flattered whether the comments are genuine or not.
The way I see it is that we do not always need flattery. After all, there can be only so much ego stroking before even flattery gets old, tired and inauthentic. Then what good is it?
However, when flattery is mixed with a dose of reality things start to change.
Recently, I received a review of one my works of fiction. It was not a good review. Actually, it wasn’t a review at all, it was two sentences long. However, I will forever be in the debt of the author of those two sentences.
Those two sentences spoke volumes. Unfortunately, the review came a little over a year after that book was published. However, that will not stop me from taking those two sentences and doing something positive with them. Though I hope my writing has matured since., I will work harder to make it better and possibly get a better review from him, next time.
Getting back to Machiavelli, well let’s just say this guy was onto something.