Upland, CA — I believe that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I also believe that you should surround yourself with individuals who have achieved things you want to achieve. I wanted to become a professional baseball player, so I needed to surround myself with major leaguers. Despite what some thought was impossible for me to do, I became a batboy for the Chicago White Sox Team and learned from people who were living the life that I dreamed of living. In my pursuit to do what others saw as impossible, I learned a valuable lesson. Be careful who you share your dreams with. Why, you ask? Because dreams do not usually die; someone usually kills them, and some of the best dream-killers we call family and friends. You must not allow anyone to kill your dreams.
They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Which means everyone in your life counts. We really are impacted by those with whom we spend the most time. Whatever you call them, your inner circle, closest friends, posse, or entourage, it is critical that you recognize how they are affecting you. If you wanted to make some changes in your personal or professional life, which one of your friends would be encouraging and which ones would be discouraging? I have a personal mantra: “If you are not the wind in my sail, you are an anchor on my tail and I have to cut you lose.” Some people offer gain, and some are just a drain. The famous black intellectual Booker T. Washington said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality. For it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Sometimes to become happier, healthier, wealthier, wiser, or more successful, you have to evaluate the people in your life and identify which ones can help or support you to arrive successfully to places you want or need to go. People in your life who are supportive can help make you a better version of yourself.
I know from personal experience that bad influences can take you down the wrong path. They can make you think thoughts you have never had, make you do things you have never done, and take you places you have never been. Everyone who smiles in your face and pats you on the back may not be your friend. Are there people in your life with bad intentions who might also be bad influences? If you do not know what and who they are, you could be adversely impacted by them. The bad influences that I allowed in my life led me to make bad choices and poor decisions, and they took me away from my core values. Their influence broke my moral compass and took me down a rabbit hole that led to unhappiness and confusion. I was not getting better; I was getting bitter. I was blind to the effects of their influence. I heard Pastor Joel Osteen once say, “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”
Some of the metrics or measurements you must ask yourself when it comes to the individuals in your life are how do you feel about yourself after spending time with them, and whether you are at your best when you are with them. Sometimes to make positive changes in your life, you must change how you think, change some of your habits, identify new goals, and surround yourself with positive people.