You Become Who You Hang Around

When we’re working to change our lives and reach our goals, one of the most critical areas to examine is to check what types of people we hang around most often. One of the hardest alterations many people face on the way to reaching their goals is the realization that the people they’ve surrounded themselves with are negative influences.

We teach our children to be selective about who they hang out with, so why do we think that doesn’t apply to us as adults? A good parent encourages their children to be careful about the influences around them, knowing that they will be heavily influenced by those closest to them.

If we want to become successful then why would we allow ourselves to be continually influenced by people who haven’t been successful?

No, this isn’t advocating dropping friends, or trying to find a new set of people to pal around with so we look better than we are. This is about evaluating our relationships and determining whether or not they have a positive or negative influence on us.

There are times when the best decision you can make is to cut ties with people who are holding you down. Are they negative? Do they gossip or put other people down? Do they consistently discourage you from following your hopes and plans? Are they a poor influence or someone that empowers a bad habit?

Change Your Environment

I imagine that many of your friends are people you first became acquainted with due to your regular proximity to one another. Maybe you met them in your old neighborhood or school growing up, or back in college. Sometimes we meet people at work who are colleagues at first but grow to become part of our inner circle. It doesn’t really matter where you met, just recognize that the people you hang out with are likely there because of a shared environment.

So if you wake up one day and realize you need to find a new set of friends who won’t be bad influences, don’t go looking for new friends in the same old places. This doesn’t mean you need to drop everything, quit your job, and move to a new neighborhood. What it does mean is that you need to change the places you frequent.

Where do the people you want to be like hang out? What are the things the people you admire like to do? Go to those places and get to know a different breed of person.

Want to be successful? Surround yourself with successful people.
Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people.
Want to be healthy? Surround yourself with healthy people.
Want to become more confident? Surround yourself with confident people.

In essence, we become more like the people we hang out with.

It has been said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

The awesome thing about being around positive minded individuals, who have a habit of chasing their dreams and believe in taking responsibility for their lives, is that you’ll be inclined to grow in a positive direction as well.

They will have an impact on your thinking and consequently your behavior. They will support you on your journey and move you towards inspired action.

Maximize the amount of time you spend with these people!

Do the reasonable thing: Change who you hang around. Plato said, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

For better or worse, we become more like the people we hang around. Our behavior, speech, manners, dialect, interests, outlook, motivation level are all influenced by those in our environment.  Knowing that we are swayed by our peers and consciously and subconsciously affected by them is an important principle to accept; since your friends are going to influence you either way, why not pick the friends who will be a positive influence?  Seek out people who excel at something and don’t be intimidated by someone who has an aptitude in an area you don’t; the best way to improve yourself is to attach yourself to people who possess a skill or quality you admire and learn from them.

It takes a certain amount of confidence to surround yourself with top-notch people; Chances are this person may have strength in areas where you are weak but he may have a weakness in an area where you’re strong. Don’t always assume that you don’t have something to offer a perceived “winner.” Adopt the mindset that they can learn something from you as well.

Enter every relationship with the mindset that your main goal is to learn from other people and help them grow as well. Eventually you may find that you’re naturally attracted to people who have a positive attitude and are motivated to excel at something. You’ll be emulating their positive behavior without exerting so much effort as they will be your closest connections. Your entire identity will take a 180 shift and your “personal brand” will become tied to these successful people; the way you perceive yourself is how others perceive you. When you hang out with people who are positive, accountable, inspiring and elevated you too will become positive, accountable, inspiring and elevated.

Last of all, realize that you may be the person in need of the most change. Like calls to like, so you tend to attract certain types of people more than others. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but it does mean that there may be some work necessary on your part before others will want to hang out with you. Remember, you’re beginning to be selective about who you hang around, so you can expect others to be just as selective.

Leon C Willis

“That they all may be one” St. John 17:21