Updated: Feb 14
When you were young, did your parents advise you not to play with certain neighbourhood kids? Did your mum warn you that the girl down the road would get you into trouble? Was she right?
Well, guess what: It doesn't all change when we grow up. We continue to be influenced by others, all our lives. Each of us is an influence on those around us too so it's important that the effect we have on others is a good one.
Maybe you've heard it said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We become like those we surround ourselves with. So if that's true, imagine what would happen if you made friends with a bunch of multi-millionaires. I think it's a pretty fair bet that you would raise your game, find yourself thinking bigger and noticing opportunities to improve your finances. It's just that all too often we miss them because we are blinded by negativity - too busy moaning about what could go wrong, to see what could go right.
There's this old saying: "misery loves company." You've witnessed this, I know you have. Someone starts telling their story about how hard done by and unlucky they are and the next thing you know, the rest of the group are trying to outdo him or her.
You know how it goes - they all want to be the sickest or the one with the worst luck or the toughest life. Before you know it, everyone is wallowing in misery. The sadness disease has viralised again. Get out of there, quick!
So once you've recognised this fact, you are able to get control of it. Take a good look at the people you spend your time with. Are those people good for you? Are they supportive and encouraging of your efforts and ideas? Or do they find fault and tell you why you shouldn't follow your dreams, change your direction, give new things a go?
Successful people leave clues. Happy people leave clues. Hang out with these people and find out how they keep things going right. Let some of their good fortune and happiness rub off on you.
Still not sure you believe me? Well, think about pubs for a minute. Every town has a variety of bars. There's always one where the local scallywags drink. Perhaps it's known by the police for frequent fights or dodgy dealings. There will be a pub in the town where business people gather to do deals, making money over lunch. One of the pubs will attract musicians or arty types and another will be attractive to students. You're getting the picture, I'm sure. The thing is, it's easy to become like whichever group of people you find yourself socialising or working with.
It's possible that your language changes depending on the company you are in. Perhaps, when you are with one group of friends, swearing and cussing are common and acceptable and you find yourself using words that you would never dream of uttering around different sets of friends. It's not that you start out to speak differently, it just happens naturally and that's due to the influence of others.
So, what will you do, now that you realise the effect other people have in your life? Why not try cutting down the amount of time you spend with people who enjoy complaining and have no ambition. Seek out people who are what you aspire to be. Ask them about themselves, how they got to where they are. Spend time around them (without stalking them.) Most of us love it when people ask us about ourselves and how we achieved our goals and are pleased to share stories.
And be a good friend. Be someone that others will aspire to be like. Be enthusiastic, honest, bright and cheerful, hardworking and above all, think about all the good things that you want to draw into your life.
You see, what you think about, comes about. Of that, I am certain.