by David DeFord
I’ve decided I need to lose about 20 pounds, so I think I’ll go hang out at the buffet. Make sense? Of course, it doesn’t. We know that in order to lose weight we must change what, where and how much we eat.
The outward influences that we allow to surround us help shape our lives. The choices we make about where and with whom we spend our time will help determine who we will become.
If we want to improve ourselves, in our personal, financial, spiritual, social, and family lives, we must improve the outward influences around us.
It is often said that if you want to become a millionaire, spend time with millionaires and do what they do, go where they go, and read what they read. This principle also applies to all areas of our lives.
If we want to improve ourselves, we should look at what, where, and with whom we spend our time.
Do your friends support you in your strivings for positive change? Or do they ridicule you? If you want to quit smoking, you will do well to spend less time with those who smoke and continually offer you cigarettes, and more time with those who encourage your change. If you want to eliminate your debts, are your poker buddies the right people to reinforce you?
At the time Kathy and I married, we also made some spiritual commitments. We knew that if we were to make our marriage work and keep our new spiritual commitments, we needed to find new friends. Our old friends had not made the changes we desired, and they frequently invited us to slide away from our new lives.
We decided to move away and begin anew. Just a few days after our wedding, we packed up our few belongings and made a new life together in another state. There we associated ourselves with others who were living the lifestyle we had chosen. We have never regretted that decision.
Ours was a more extreme example, perhaps, than yours. But, you really can change yourself by changing your contacts. You need not abandon old friends, but you can open yourself to new, more positive friendships that can help reinforce you.
Are the places that you spend your time contributing to the positive changes you wish to make? For your spiritual quest, are you better off spending time in a pool hall or a temple? In striving to make your new business a success, would you be better served in a chamber of commerce meeting, a continuing education class, or sitting on a bar stool?
To make true change, we must change our environment—we must find every source of reinforcement we can find. Changing where we spend our time will go a long way in helping us reach our desired destination.
Our Media Habits
Living a TV existence will not get us where we want to be, even if we want to be an actor. The average American spends over thirty hours per week watching television. What if you converted half of those hours to pursuing your goals? Would fifteen additional hours a week help get you closer to your dreams?
Plus, the passive nature of television viewing numbs our minds, squashes our creativity, and, depending on what programs we choose, lower our values.
Certainly, we all need rest. We can’t have our bows strung tightly all of the time lest we lessen our effectiveness. Recreation is important—but watching television is not recreation—it’s inactivity. There is a difference.
When we do watch television, the program choices we make can affect our attitudes toward ourselves. If we watch inspirational biographies of people who have lived with significance, we lift our personal sights. If we watch a sitcom that promotes lifestyles contrary to our personal values, we lower our sights, and maybe our values.
In deciding on a program, ask yourself if this program will help you stay faithful to your values and your family—an important question to ask before we make most of our decisions.
Read, read, read
So many good books, so little time. I strongly encourage you to read. Choose books that will help you improve your talents, increase your wisdom, and lift your vision.
Given the same raw abilities, who will perform better, one who regularly studies his craft, or one who watches Friends reruns in his spare time?
Read books on a variety of subjects, but choose books that will help you get what you want; ones that help you become the person you want.
Choose books that teach, that emphasize the beautiful and the creative. As you do, you become more beautiful and creative yourself. Study topics that interest you, and become interested in new subjects.
If you want to improve, you must improve internally, but you must also improve your external environment. By doing so, you boost your opportunities to succeed. Align your environment with your values and you will improve your life.
“Most homes valued at over $250,000 have a library. That should tell you something." Jim Rohn
"Don't join an easy crowd; you won't grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high." Jim Rohn
"Get around the right people. Associate with positive, goal-oriented people who encourage and inspire you." Brian Tracy
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