On positive influences

Do you see the positive influences in your life? Can you distinguish them from the negative ones?

You have plenty of great people to learn from, but there are also plenty of people who could destroy you if you decided to spend more time with them. You know who you should spend your time around because they will make you better. The problem is that it’s not as easy as accepting them. Imagine that the people you spend your time around are like packing your backpack up to travel with. You may be tempted to pack your bag to the brim and bring everything you might ever possibly need. What if I need this on my trip? What if I want to wear that while I’m traveling? I’ll bring it all, just in case.” That seems like a good idea until you go out on your trip and realize that all of the things you decided to bring with you are slowing you down. You didn’t need all of this extra stuff, and now it’s become a burden. Friends are the same, both in quality and quantity. You should remember two things:

  1. By having more friends, influences, mentors, or teachers, you will not have more learning, experience, or happiness. You can only learn and experience at a particular rate, and changing the number of contributors to that input does nothing to your ability to absorb it all. That is the folly of networking—knowing more people will not make you happier. You might scratch the surface with many, but don’t forget to develop deep relationships with a few. (That is also specific to you, as other more extroverted types may find joy in such constant encounters.)

  2. The more time you spend with someone positive, the more profound their singular effect is on you. By spending more time with that one person, you will develop more context with them. As you acquire the necessary background, you can help each other in ways previously not possible. As you help each other, you learn more about each other. The relationship between an apprentice who has been with their master for seven years is far more profound than of an employee and manager that started working together a few weeks ago. By spending time with these few people who you call your influences, you can build this context and move forward in more meaningful ways.