Friday, February 24, 2012

Axiom 18: Birds of a Feather...

"Tell me what company you keep and I'll tell you what you are.
-Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

"Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them." -W. Clement Stone

The company you keep is one of the biggest factors in determining how successful and happy you will be in life. It is inevitable that you'll start to think and behave like the people you are around the most. I recently heard a great quote that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.

And its true. There are many examples of this. On a small scale its why children grow up and repeat the sins (or successes) of their parents. Its why parents worry about who their children become friends with and start relationships with. Its why rehabilitated drug-addicts are advised not to hang out with other users. On a larger scale its why people in your city talk with the same accent, vote the same way, dress alike, and eat the same cuisine.

No matter who you are it is human nature to assimilate and adapt to the beliefs of the larger group to fit in. That's why it is so important to downplay negative relationships and emphasize positive ones.

From time to time you should do an evaluation of your own friends and family. You should see how their behaviors are affecting your own way of thinking. The goal is to see who is making your life easier and happier and who is making your life more problematic. Once you are aware of this you can find ways to slowly distance yourself from the people that are negative in your life.

The best way to distance yourself from negative relationships is to seek out positive people and positive activities. You will notice that you naturally have less time for the negative people in your life and you can slowly cut them out. Negative family members and lovers can be a little harder to distance yourself from. You may have to do something more drastic like breaking up with lovers and moving away from family.

That may seem a little cruel, but I'm sure you've seen people caught in perpetually negative relationships who can never seem to accomplish anything. How could you ever travel the world, start your own business, or simply enjoy the simple things in life if you are fighting with your girlfriend or boyfriend every night? See my point? In these situations put yourself first.

Choose who you spend time with wisely because they will influence how you see the world and how happy you'll be.