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It doesn’t matter how smart or talented you are, or if you come from a rich family, you are the total sum of the people you spend your time with. They can either push you to try new things and excel, or they can bring you down, teach you bad habits and essentially put a damper on your successes. There’s a saying that goes, “Your net worth is correlated to your network.”
To explain this scientifically, your brain is made of up of neurons, cells that transmit nerve impulses, that control all kinds of activities in your body, both physically and psychologically. There are special kinds of neurons, called mirror neurons, which fire up whether you yourself are doing a certain action, or whether you’re observing someone else do it. So basically, you get the same feeling when you watch someone do something just as if you were doing it yourself. So, think of your group of friends, if they complain a lot, you will too.
If they can’t manage to save money, or eat a lot of junk food, or smoke, you’ll mimic their bad behavior. And just the opposite is true, as Robert Kiyosaki states in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, “If you hang out with a group of successful, positive-minded individuals who believe in taking responsibility for their lives, you will move to become a proactive individual who shapes his/her future. If you hang out with a bunch of pessimists who believe the world is out to get them and there is nothing worthwhile, you will start descending into the negative whirlpool at some point, even if you are initially a positive individual”.
So how do you know whether the people around are helping you become the version of yourself? Here’s what you should do. Make a list of the people closest to you in your life with whom you see on a daily basis and spend most your time with. Place each person into 1 of the following 3 categories:
These are the people in your life who are constantly pushing you to do and be better. They’re supportive of your choices as well as your mistakes because they know your weaknesses and know how to comfort you when the chips are down, and also what to do to help you get back up. They may even know how to market your skills by helping you expand your network. And they, themselves, are successful and motivated people because they share your goals and ambitions.
The ‘B Group’ is where you’ll find friends that are almost ‘A Group’ but aren’t there quite yet. They still have some self-development and growth to work on, but, at the same time, they’re supportive of your drive and determination.
Also known as the blood-suckers, these people will whisper your successes while loudly publicizing your failures. They seem to be so good at pinning you down in a harsh cycle of self-destruction. They’re the ones who usually blame everyone else for anything that goes wrong in their lives, and think people are out to get them.
The famous Greek philosopher and teacher, Epictetus, said, “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” and long before him, the Father of Western Philosophy, Aristotle, believed that friendship is made of up 3 factors, “Friends must enjoy each other’s company, they must be useful to one another, and they must share a common commitment to the good.” So take a good look at the people you surround yourself with every day and decide whether they’re helping or hurting you. If it’s the latter, don’t be afraid to start distancing yourself from them. Don’t cut them off completely; just spend less time with them. Then go out and find people who raise you up, encourage and support you.
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