The Friends You Keep

Most of us believe we are independent thinkers and decision makers, but the bulk of our decisions are heavily influenced by our environment and the surrounding people. If it’s true you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, then those people play key roles in shaping who you are and where you’re headed in life. Your inner circle is the environment, and you’re the product. If you want to change or improve the product (you) then you need to change or improve the environment first.

Gatekeepers

Take a long look at your friends, your inner circle. You will notice your lives are all generally trending in the same direction. Friend groups tend to have similar interests and aspirations. That is great if your individual goals align with the rest of the group… but that is not always the case. A lot of times, people suppress their true desires out of fear of being ostracized by their friends. Many people have goals and dreams that exceed those of their environment. Every time you bring up these goals/dreams of yours, are your friends quick to shut you down or laugh it off? Every time you express interest in wanting to get more out of life, do they dismiss you and what you have to say? They are satisfied with where they are in life, so they want you to be as well. They do not want you to surpass them. These kind of people are not your friends, they are your gatekeepers.

Growing Pains

Once take responsibility for improving your life, you’ll notice you start to lose some “friends”. Don’t get upset about it, you should expect this and let the dead weight shed itself. Growth always comes with this price. Everyone doesn’t have the same path, and everyone is not meant to go on your journey with you. It’s important for you to be okay with this. The sooner you understand and accept this, the sooner you can start creating an environment that is conducive to your progression. I’m not saying throw away all your friendships, but you need to seriously think about the kind of influences you have surrounding you. If the relationship does not bring you positive value, could be tangible or intangible, you should let it go. No need to keep people around who ultimately hold you back just because you don’t want to meet new people and forge new relationships. It’s okay to outgrow people and still have love for them.

Control the Environment/Control the Product

Everyone in your life has an impact on you. It could be a positive or a negative influence, but no one is net neutral. It is damn near impossible to level up and improve your life when everyone around you is vibrating at a low frequency. Over time, they will wear on you and your energy will regress back to the average of your friend group. To prevent this, it is important to thoroughly vet the people you let closest to you. Most people spend more time deciding what to eat for dinner than who to be friends with. Hanging out with people just because they are available is not good enough. When cultivating your environment, you need to move with intention. As you get older, it can be harder to make new friends, but this is the part where you need to get uncomfortable and put yourself in new situations. You need to seek out people who align with the vision you have for your life going forward. There are going to be times when you’re slacking or maybe in a funk. These are when you will lean on your inner circle to hold you accountable and get you back right. The whole point is to create a team where you push each other to higher achievements. If everyone in your immediate environment is content with mediocrity, it’s unrealistic to think you are going to be any different.

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