Your Environment and Success

Your Environment and SuccessWise mentors tell us that to be successful in life and meet our goals, it is supremely important that we prepare our environment in a way that maximizes our potential to succeed. Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The Bible tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).   Pretty important, therefore, to choose carefully those who inhabit your orbit.

Both positive and negative mindsets tend to be contagious. I’ve observed that the tendency toward being negative, defeatist and pessimistic is a little more “natural” than the opposite tendency—that is, towards finding the good in life. This is a by-product of living in a fallen world. But it does not have to be that way. It just takes effort. And it is worth it.

Choose wisely what and with whom you associate. “Like attracts like.” This I’ve found to be true. If I’m angry, sullen, mad at the world and depressed, I tend to attract people just like me—without even trying! My anger somehow validates them. And of course such anger is usually cloaked in righteous sounding garb. But it is a downward spiral and simply has never worked.

I’ve discovered that as my thinking is positive, loving, cheerful and optimistic, I attract people with similar thinking and outlook. And I’ve noticed that what appeals to the optimistic and cheerful tends to repel the pessimistic and angry. Want to find out something really interesting? Look at those who were drawn to Jesus and those who were repelled by him. Invariably, those who were repelled by Jesus were angry, punctilious, religious people whose view of God was ultimately evil. If you are ultimately more focused on evil than on good, you are demonstrating what one author calls “practical atheism”—that is, you have more faith in the supremacy of the power of evil than the power of good. Hmm….

Some suggestions:

  • Read and listen well. There are all sorts of helpful resources in the digital universe, as well as library and bookstore shelves, that can help you on your way.  Avail yourself.  I’ve been particularly helped by books, video and audio by people like Brian Tracy, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jack Canfield.
  • Choose friends carefully. You must approach friendships aware that those whom you surround yourself with will affect you for good or ill. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious. Some friends will feel threatened when you become healthy.       Become healthy anyway. Love them but understand you may have to, for both your sakes, limit your involvements.
  • Look for good in every situation. You generally find what you’re looking for.

Now go succeed!

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Choose Your Circle…With Care

Choose Friends CarefullyI have been thinking recently, after a time away from The Upside, of how vital and terribly important it is to choose carefully those with whom you are surrounded.

They are affecting you.  Fact.

It is true that there are certain environments where our companions are, in effect, chosen for us.  In other words, out of our control.  Family. Workplace.  Subway and carpool regulars.  Church and synagogue gatherings.

But this does not define the totality of our lives.  In so much of what we call our discretionary time–and, by extension, discretionary surroundings–we are free to choose those we hang with.  Indeed, we are responsible for these environments.

When I spend too much time with pessimists, who mistakenly view themselves as realists, I become infected.  Sorry, but I am not a Titan and tend to get pulled under by the undertow of fear, defeatism, and basic laziness that tends to undergird most “it-can’t-be-done,-so-why-try?” thinking.

There is a better way.

Simply this:  In those situations which you do control, choose wisely.  Friends who regularly tell you “it can’t be done so why bother?” are not friends.  They have capitulated.  They’ve taken the easy way, the path of least resistance.  And they have plenty of like-minded people to validate their view of life.

Don’t you dare.

Life is worth living.  As our Jewish friends remind us, “Any day above ground is a good day.”  So be thankful.

In practice:

  • Read things that tell you that you, indeed, can.  Don’t spend your precious time giving thought, angst, and emotion to those who decry your efforts at something better.
  • Choose your orbit with care.  Life is far too short to wreck it with toxic affiliations that keep you from, rather than push towards, the fulfillment of your goals and purpose.
  • Live in expectation of good, success, productivity, and the betterment of the world in which you now live.  Much, if not most, pessimism is simply an excuse not to try–an acceptance of the status quo.

You can do this.  Surround your self with people and stimuli that reinforce it.

You won’t regret it.  And you can take that to the bank.

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A Fruitful Environment (You Can Design It)

Creative EnvironmentsWise mentors tell us that to be successful in life and meet our goals, it is supremely important that we prepare our environment in a way that maximizes our potential to succeed.  Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  The Bible tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).   Pretty important, therefore, to choose carefully those who inhabit your orbit.

Both positive and negative mindsets tend to be contagious.  I’ve observed that the tendency toward being negative, defeatist and pessimistic is a little more “natural” than the opposite tendency—that is, towards finding the good in life.  This is a by-product of living in a fallen world.  But it does not have to be that way.  It just takes effort.  And it is worth it.

Choose wisely what and whom you associate with.  “Like attracts like.”  This I’ve found to be true.  If I’m angry, sullen, mad at the world and depressed, I tend to attract people just like me—without even trying!  My anger somehow validates them.  And of course such anger usually sounds reasonable, even logical.  Most of the time, it’s simply a cloak hiding some unhealed pain or disappointment.  The anger is just a symptom.  And being angry with the world is a downward spiral and just doesn’t work.  I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve found that when my disposition is positive, loving, cheerful and optimistic, I attract people with similar thinking and outlook.

Vineyard owners will tell you that every year or so, they must prune back their vines to ensure a fruitful harvest in the coming season.  This pruning is both painful but necessary.

In our lives and associations we must, at times, prune activities and relationships to be the best we can be.  I don’t mean by this cutting people off but we must be wise about what and whom we give our time to.  Some times we cultivate associations.  Other times we limit them.  It depends on what is ultimately the healthiest thing for both parties.

Newly pruned vines don’t look especially appealing to the eye.   But it is this pruning that brings full, mature and healthy grapes.  And the finest wine.  So it is with us!

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Cultivating A Fruitful Environment

Wise mentors tell us that to be successful in life and meet our goals, it is supremely important that we prepare our environment in a way that maximizes our potential to succeed.  Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  The Bible tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).   Pretty important, therefore, to choose carefully those who inhabit your orbit.

Both positive and negative mindsets tend to be contagious.  I’ve observed that the tendency toward being negative, defeatist and pessimistic is a little more “natural” than the opposite tendency—that is, towards finding the good in life.  This is a by-product of living in a fallen world.  But it does not have to be that way.  It just takes effort.  And it is worth it.

Choose wisely what and whom you associate with.  “Like attracts like.”  This I’ve found to be true.  If I’m angry, sullen, mad at the world and depressed, I tend to attract people just like me—without even trying!  My anger somehow validates them.  And of course such anger usually sounds reasonable, even logical.  Most of the time, it’s simply a cloak hiding some unhealed pain or disappointment.  The anger is just a symptom.  And being angry with the world is a downward spiral and just doesn’t work.  I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve found that when my disposition is positive, loving, cheerful and optimistic, I attract people with similar thinking and outlook.

Vineyard owners will tell you that every year or so, they must prune back their vines to ensure a fruitful harvest in the coming season.  This pruning is both painful but necessary.

In our lives and associations we must, at times, prune activities and relationships to be the best we can be.  I don’t mean by this cutting people off but we must be wise about what and whom we give our time to.  Some times we cultivate associations.  Other times we limit them.  It depends on what is ultimately the healthiest thing for both parties.

Newly pruned vines don’t look especially appealing to the eye.   But it is this pruning that brings full, mature and healthy grapes.  And the finest wine.  So it is with us!