If you are a parent, you have told your child that it matters who they spend time with. You’ve said, “Pick the right crowd because you become like the people you spend time with.” We instinctively know that we become who we are with and who we listen to. We become like the blogs we read, the podcasts we listen to and the shows we watch. We know in leadership and work that those around us will determine our success.
Yet, as we grow older we either stop believing this, stop thinking about it or think we are above it.
Here’s a quick test: would you describe yourself as miserable or joy-filled? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Do you complain about your spouse? Now, ask yourself, how many people that you spend time with (or connecting with on social media) are the same as you.
We know this to be true, but find it difficult to apply.
Here are some ways:
- Listen to people. You want people to listen to you when you throw up the red flag about someone in their life, but we don’t do the same. When someone says, “I don’t like the person you are or become after spending with ____.” Listen to them.
- Know who you want to become. One of the reasons we are blind in relationships and blind to who influences us is because we are unsure of the kind of person we want to become. We have ideas about it, but if you boil it down, few people actually know. We often know more of what we don’t want to be like, which is not as helpful as knowing where you are headed. Knowing where you don’t want to be leaves you aimless and can lead you almost anywhere.
- Find people older than you to share their wisdom. The older I get, the more I want to be around older people so I can gain their wisdom and learn from their mistakes. Yes, I have friends my age and younger, but they know as little as I do. You should always have someone older speaking into your life and influencing you.