My friend, Charlie Jones used to say, “You will be the same person you are right now, ten years from now, except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” This Tip is about the people we meet!
The people with whom we associate will have either a positive or negative impact on our lives. It is a fact of life that who we “hang around with” will have a strong influence on the way we think, behave and act. Just a casual look at our culture will show you the truth of that statement. All it takes is for one movie star to wear his baseball cap backwards and soon every teen-age boy in America will be doing the same. I think it is interesting how teen-agers are always talking about how much they want their individuality, yet are so quick to conform to what everyone else is doing!
Unfortunately, that is not only true for teen-agers, but I think that it is true for adults as well. Who we listen to and spend time with will have a direct affect on our daily lives.
Years ago, I was about to make a major decision in my life – one that would require moving my family from Atlanta, Georgia to Dallas, Texas. I had a safe, secure job and was doing well at the time. So, to make that kind of move would be a big deal for both me and my family. In order to make a wise decision, I talked to some people who were older and wiser than me. Each one of them agreed that it was the right thing for me to do at that time in my life. So, we made the decision to move to Dallas.
No sooner had I made that decision and announced it publicly than one of my best friends showed up on my doorstep. He did not come to my office or call on the phone. He just showed up on my doorstep! He had come to my house to ask me if I had lost my mind! He told me that what I was doing was the worst decision I could make. I thanked him for his concern and assured him that I believed it was the right decision. And now, looking back on it, I am certain that it was!
You see, the moment you decide to break away from the crowd and better your own life, your financial situation, or your personal relationships, people will try to persuade you against your decision.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the illustration of the blue crabs. You can put a large number of crabs together in a big barrel. If any of the crabs try to get out, one of the other crabs will reach up and pull them back into the barrel. However, if only one crab is ever left, there is a good likelihood that it will escape. Without having any of its “friends” in the barrel to pull him down, he will be able to successfully crawl out of that barrel and be on his way!
Now that may seem like a silly example, but I think it illustrates my point perhaps more clearly than I could otherwise communicate it. We are surrounded by people who want to pull us down – not because they are bad, but because they are addicted to mediocrity. It is a potential deadly disease that all of us carry. As soon as we see someone who is trying to rise above the ordinary, we automatically wonder, “Who gave them the right to have a better life than I do?”
This principle can work against you, but it can also work for you. If you surround yourself with wise, healthy people, they will make you better. That is why I say that if you show me the people you spend time with, I will be able to show you your future. If you hang around people who are lazy, have no goals, no financial future, and no desire to better themselves personally, you will catch their dreaded disease of mediocrity. However, if you associate with winners, they will have a positive impact on you as well.
I played football in high school. We had a wonderful team and I have a lot of good memories of those years. However, when I went on to play college ball, I realized that I was playing in a whole different league. Almost everyone on our college team was an outstanding football player and being around that caliber of athlete forced me to “up my game”. I had to be a better player because of who I was now associating with, and it helped me a great deal.
I found the same thing to be true when I was going to school. I never studied in high school and didn’t study that much in college either. But, when I got to graduate school, everything changed. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who knew how to study. I spent hours and hours with brilliant people who helped me to learn to increase my thinking ability. I was in a league way over my head, but it caused me to stretch to become more of an academic than I had previously been.
You see, if you hang around with athletes who are great and students who are smart, you will have to do better. Who you associate with will have a direct bearing, one way or the other, on whether you do better or worse in life!
This week, take a look at who you spend time with on a daily basis. I am not in any way suggesting that you judge or condemn other people. I am asking you to look at your own life to see if you are where you want to be at this particular stage of life. If you are, congratulations! But, if you are not, remember that it is the people around you who will either lift you up or pull you down. Someone once wisely said, “If you are the smartest person in your group, you need to find a new group!”
I choose to associate with winners! I want to be around people who are spiritually strong, financially successful, have a positive attitude and a desire to have a better life, both personally and professionally. If that is what I want, then that is who I need to seek out on a daily basis. Life is too short to fail in this area! I must guard this part of my life, perhaps more than any other, in order to become the person I want to be. Don’t you agree?
Tip: Show me who you associate with and I will show you your future!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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