We owe it to people. People who raised us. People who taught us. People who made friends with us. People who were not-so-nice to us. We are not just we. We are a sum total of all the interactions we have had over our lifetime. Everything adds to our person one way or another.
A wise friend once told me that we are the average of five people we spend our most time with. I have taken it to heart and observed that it is true. To the extent that our vocabulary and manner of speaking, among other things, tend to reflect people we are closest to.
A woman once shared her concern about not being able to get ahead in life while she was hopping from one social gathering to another. I have nothing against social dos. You may get fabulous fashion advice or the latest news on your favourite or most hated celebrities (or someone in your social circle). It’s a problem only when that information is not what you are really concerned about. And don’t be mistaken, gossips lurk in big corporate offices too, mostly around water coolers. In the end, it’s the message that you get out of any time spent with people and no more. Chit chat can be a great thing when you have a lot of time at hand and don’t know what to do with it.
Time, again, is a very fascinating concept for me. We are always pressed for time. Yet, we find time for something we love, no matter how. And we manage to waste a lot of time and spend a lot of time wondering where time went. Tangents aside, it’s the people with whom we surround ourselves who have the biggest impact on our thoughts, beliefs, opinions and hence our lives. So it is our utmost duty to ourselves to find great people to surround ourselves with. There are plenty out there to suit everyone’s needs. And it’s the quality that matters, not the quantity. In fact, the fewer the better, when it comes to people really close to you.
Oh yes, you can retain those 2000 people on your Facebook friend list, that is not a problem. Choose wisely the people you have real conversations with. Know the kind of person you want to be. Know the kind of people you want as your closest friends. Know who will fill you with hope when you are face to face with dismay. Know who will hold your hand when it is trembling with fear. Know who will give you stern advice matter-of-factly when you need it. Know who will guide you on the path to who you want to become.
It’s important to invest in genuine friendships more than ever. In today’s fast-paced culture, as most of us are away from families geographically or at a mental or intellectual level, it’s the friendship circle that doubles up as family, but only the one we have taken time to nurture into a beautiful support system.
It might sound awful, but it’s also our responsibility to weed out people who hamper our growth to our fullest potential. If complete weeding out is out of question, it is wise to stay away as much as possible. Why? People work directly on our energy system. And energy is what we have (or don’t have) to get ahead in life.
Apart from friends, find ways to move with people who have the same ambitions and purpose. If they are ahead of you, they can mentor you. If they are at par, they can walk along with you. The idea is to have meaningful conversations that fulfil your soul and leave you feeling charged and joyful.
Lastly but equally importantly, be one of those great people to those who surround themselves with you. Life is a two way street.