The Truth About The Company You Keep
Although you may not realize it, the people you spend the most time with will completely shape your thoughts and actions. There is a lot of truth in the idea that we all become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Take a moment to analyze the people with whom you spend the most time, and it will be clear to you that you share many of the same habits as them. You probably belong to the same income bracket, live in a similarly priced home, share similar views on politics and religion, and think the same way about many topics.
People, just like books and television, can be mental food or mental poison. If your friends are incredibly negative people then the chances are that you are, or eventually will become, a negative person. And don't make the mistake of thinking this isn't true. It is also true that every single conversation that you have with anyone has an effect on your mind. It will either grow your mind, or degrade your mind. If you really want to test this principle, here is a good experiment. Think of your most positive friend, and then think of your most negative friend. Think of one who is always involved in some effort to excel, and who is excited about life, and then think of one who is always in a habit of complaining and gossiping. Spend an hour alone with each of these people, and be conscious of how you feel at the end of that hour. The conclusion that you will find is that you always feel better when you have spent time with the positive friend. Positivity spreads, and so does negativity. Having said this, if you feel better with the negative friend than with the positive friend then you should recognize that you have become a negative person. Birds of the feather flock together, and if you find great pleasure in spending time with people who gossip, judge, and complain, then you need to separate yourself from that crowd as soon as possible.
It's a shame that not many people have been intentional with the acquaintances and friends that they allow into their lives. We wander through life unaware of the influences that are upon us, and so we never stop to question why we allow ourselves to be tossed and turned by the people with whom we associate. Let us immediately wake up from this slumber and begin to be conscious of the fact that every relationship does us either good or harm. There is no middle ground. If a friend is not lifting you to become better then they are pulling you down to their level.
You should be friendly to all acquaintances, and you must show respect to those who enter your life, but you also have a responsibility to take care of your own mind. To do this you need to be careful with who you allow into your circle of influence.
Let us begin immediately to build greater relations with those who lift us in life, and at the same time let us also divorce ourselves from those who are pulling us down. This may seem harsh, but it is a necessary step for all those who wish to leave the crowd of mediocrity.
These people who pull us down will at first be resistant. They will feel lost when we march on into new territories without them. But don’t look back, and feel no sympathy for these people, for they will either join you in your path to a better life, or they will find their place in this world as they fall back into their negative ways. This is not your concern. Love them, and wish them well, but do not let their self-imposed suffering be the catalyst for your return to the mediocre life.
As you leave the herd and move away from those who pull you back, you can be sure of one promise; you will find a better life, better relationships, and better results.