BAD COMPANY

Who's Your Friend?

When you want to relax and have fun, what kind of people do you spend your time with? When you go out to dinner with friends, what kind of friends do you choose? Our friends tell us everything about us, because people tend to choose friends who reflect their own values.

No man wants to feel uncomfortable when he is playing golf with another man, and no woman wants to feel uncomfortable when she is shopping with another woman. So when a person wants to relax, that person will instinctively select a companion who wants to talk about the things that interest him and wants to do the things that make her happy. To look at your friends, therefore, is to look in a mirror. We choose friends who reflect our personal interests.

This is why, in the Bible, the apostle Paul could say, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” Two things happen when we spend lots of time with other people. First, we choose people who already reflect most of our priorities and morals. And second, we adopt the remaining priorities and morals of those with whom we spend our time. We become like them.

So one of the best habits you could develop to make your future brighter is the habit of spending time with people you want to emulate. Obviously, you don’t get to pick your coworkers or your neighbors. All of us have to learn to get along with difficult people. But when it comes to those friends that you choose to draw close to you, start looking for ways to bring admirable people into your inner circle. Seek out friends who are doing the things you want to do and succeeding in those areas of life where you want to succeed. Your friends will dictate your future in a very big way.

NEW PERCEPTIONS ON LIFE

How's Your Attitude?

Generally speaking, are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you see the glass half empty or half full? All our lives, we have been taught that attitude is a choice. Attitude is not a matter of genetics or a matter of upbringing or a matter of the circumstances impacting our lives; a person’s attitude is a choice that he makes regarding the way he will respond to the world around him.

But I would actually go a step farther. I would propose that a person’s attitude is a habit. It is something that is learned through a repetitive response to inner feelings and the external world, and it eventually becomes an automatic reaction to everything in life.

Did you know, however, that your attitude is more than just an attitude? It is more than just a way of thinking or behaving. Your attitude actually affects your health. People with positive attitudes have a higher tolerance for pain than people with negative attitudes, and positive people have less stress in their lives than people with sour dispositions.

Just like any good habit, therefore, the habit of a good attitude can be learned over time. In real life, good experiences and bad experiences tend to balance out. But because our attitudes are based on perceptions, not reality, those perceptions can be reshaped if we will follow the simple steps that are necessary for creating a new habit.

In Make That, Break That, I explain the simple steps for forming a new habit, including the habit of a better attitude. And while the bad news is that these steps will take time to implement in your life, the good news is that they can make a lasting difference. A new habit, once acquired, can truly change the trajectory of your life and the perceptions that shape it.

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