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 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….
- 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!