Surround yourself with people that challenge you to grow

I don’t enjoy getting old. I don’t wake up with the same energy as I used to when I was young and my knees remind me every day that I pushed them too hard in my 20’s.

However, with age comes experience and an opportunity to reflect on decisions made. I don’t live with regret but all the same, there are choices that I made that would have influenced my life in better ways.

One such decision was the choice of friends that I made. If you have read any of my posts, you may see that I have not always been the most confident of people and have resorted to alcohol on many occasions to manage.

A logical choice of friends would be around people that positively influence my perceived ‘need’ to drink and to enjoy life while being sober. However, rather than do that, I chose friends that only supported and encouraged the self-destructive behaviour.

I won’t rehash my post The evolution of my Friday’s that details my drinking but just say that I did escape my desperate need to drink by actually leaving the city I lived in. Now, I rarely drink and if I do, it’s for enjoyment of the taste.

Another aspect of choosing a friend when I was younger was to have people around me that didn’t challenge me. By this I mean that they displayed behaviour that wouldn’t influence me to be a better person. My friends were not ambitious in terms of career, relationships or financially. Any success they achieved was managed through longevity in a business, not through developing networks, education or taking risks. My two closest previous friends have clocked up 30 and 20 years of continuous service in the one agency.

This is not to disrespect their choices but for me, I wanted to achieve more but failed to have the right friends that would influence me to greater success. Again, my friends did not take financial risks and to date, do not have investment properties or share portfolios. Any discussion on the subject would be met with the possibility of losing money rather than the chance to make money.

When discussion came to my longer-term goals, often times I would be given advice that I should stick with my current job and save money for retirement. There was no encouragement and debate about ways that I could start working towards achieving my goals only ways that it would not be possible.

The problem is not necessarily my friends. They are who they are and that’s fine. They have a number of good qualities other than those that will make me grow. The problem is more so that I was not strong enough to take challenges on myself and didn’t chose another network of friends that lived at another level to what I lived at.

To be honest, I was scared to hang around people that were better educated, had higher-level jobs and were successful. I thought they would consider me beneath them. With experience and exposure to some very successful business people, I have found the opposite. Many of these people are not only willing to share their knowledge but are also very down to earth and treat me as an equal.

I guess my point is that I shouldn’t have limited who I let into my inner circle just because of my own insecurities. I should have encouraged other relationships with people of all walks of life to learn from them and improve myself. A good person is a good person. If they have success qualities that I can learn from, that is to my benefit.

It actually sounds quote parasitic but I consider I have values of my own that I can share and add value to their lives. Unfortunately, I did not consider that the case when I was younger and I was good only as the party clown. My better qualities were normally diminished once I started to drink.

If you have goals that do not align with those around you, open yourself to opportunities to meet and befriend those that have big goals and have achieved in life. Don’t dismiss your current friends but don’t limit yourself. You might find also that finding people that share the same values and goals that you do will give you greater peace of mind and happiness.

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