Friends and My Future
There are phrases, quotes, and stories we have all heard so many times our minds simply go into neutral when we hear them again. We know that; we don’t need to listen or hear it again. Problem is, that’s not necessarily true. Many things we know and understand are completely worthless to us because they have not taken root in our practical, day to day thinking. They have absolutely no impact on our lives, no matter how true we may believe they are.
I want to mention a few I know are vital for you and me to truly absorb and allow to impact our choices in 2022 and beyond if life is to be what we hope and dream:
“The direction and quality of your life is determined by your relationships.”
“Life changes when you change.”
“Show me your friends and I will show you your future.”
“You are the average of the five people closest to you.”
You know those statements are true, even though the defensiveness and rationalization that are great skills for each of us want to offer pushback. Besides your personal commitment to change, the greatest factor in your success or failure in becoming your best self and living the best life possible is the people you hang out with. You become like them. The greatest instrument of change, beyond the personal commitment, is people. You become like the people you hang out with. I often see people on social media make posts, claiming they are “living their best life.” I have conversations with people, and they tell me they are also “living their best life.” Often I know their deeper stories, the ones that don’t get much thoughtful introspection, and I know they are deluded. They can’t be living their best lives because their closest companions are not “best” in any way. One day they will be forced to admit that their choice of companions actually robbed them of their best life.
The wisest human who ever live, King Solomon, wrote, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Life proves that on a daily basis. Therefore, many of the top decisions of 2022 need to concern who is in our influencing circle.
In what relationships do you need to be more intentional? If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. The best intentions get waylaid because we don’t pull out the calendar and write it in.
List five to seven people with whom you need to build and strengthen the relationship. This goes across the board. Be honest. It may be your spouse, your children, work-related, neighbors. Don’t skew your priorities. Make sure all these relationships are not work-oriented.
Become strategic in meeting new people. I have already reached out to two people with whom I have never spent time. I recognize that if I am going to grow and change I need new perspectives—new and different voices.
We tend to cocoon with “our kind,” people who think just like us and affirm our biases. We also enjoy it when we are the one all eyes turn to, and all ears listen to. But if you are usually the most gifted, the smartest, the biggest person in the room, you have plateaued and stalled. You are no longer growing.
What area/areas in your life need attention and growth?
You know people who are ahead of you in those areas. You may not know them personally, but if you become bold and creative, you could contact them. They don’t need to be in physical proximity with you. You don’t have to meet in person. Use FaceTime or Zoom; get creative. Invite them to lunch for a specified amount of time so they know you are serious about this, and you will not be a drain on them. Be prepared. Go to lunch with questions ready and don’t waste a minute of their time. Value them and their time and they will value you.
You will not grow while you are comfortable. There’s a reason people speak of growing pains. Doctors know that there is actual physical discomfort to some degree when a body is in a period of intense growth. I remember the pain in my leg muscles as an adolescent. My parents were concerned, but the doctor checked me out and shared that I was actually in a good place—growing into myself.
If you are going to grow this year, you need fresh ideas, fresh perspectives. You need to be exposed to and even confronted by unfamiliar and uncomfortable ideas.
This will require shaking up your inner circle. Remember that the people closest to you shape who you are becoming. It doesn’t mean you throw them out unless they are toxic to you. But you don’t spend your premiere or most of your time with them. Your deep thoughts need to come from other people who are committed to growing and becoming.
Get uncomfortable; refuse to continue to accept mediocrity. Grow. Actually live your best life. It will always be one of growth.