Noted entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn once said ‘you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with’. Deep down, we all know it to be true; if all of your closest friends are succeeding in their personal or professional lives, you feel a deep urge to do the same. And many people’s high school experiences will tell them that the opposite is also true; if you hang around with wasters, you tend to become one yourself.
And so we come to the issue of dead weight. While it may not penetrate your innermost circles – those 5 closest friends with whom you spend the most time – the dead weight in your life can still have a very real effect on your chances of long-term success, both professional and personal. The lack of encouragement, or often active discouragement, of these people can dull your motivation, drain your resources, and set you back in a big way.
It’s time to lighten your personal load. But how?
Dead Weight Identifiers
How do you know whether a connection is inhibiting your success? These relationships tend to have a few traits that become incredibly obvious when you know what to look for.
- Negative – A negative relationship is distinguished by active discouragement. These are the people that tell you that you can’t, that put roadblocks in your way, and that attempt to keep you at their level.
- Wasteful – A wasteful relationship is one that demands a lot of resources from your end, with very little by way of return on investment. We’re not talking about taking care of an aged relative here (which pays itself back in love), but rather those leech-style professional and personal relationships that you stay in as part of some perceived obligation.
- Unnecessary – It may be that a connection is simply surplus to your needs – a relationship that doesn’t offer anything to anyone. While they may be inoffensive, maintaining unnecessary relationships can ultimately prove to be awfully wasteful of your time.
Can you feel some cogs turning in your head? Do any of these identifiers hit uncomfortably close to home? Excellent – that means you’ve got a prime opportunity to lighten the load.
Trimming the Fat
Get a sheet of paper and pen. Draw a line down the middle of the page, separating it into two columns. Put a plus sign on top of the left column, and a minus sign on top of the right.
Think of all of the people that you are in regular contact with; friends, family members, colleagues, business associates. Analyze each relationship, looking for any one of the traits mentioned above. If none are found, put the name in the ‘positive’ column. If one or more are found, put the name in the ‘negative’ column.
It may shock you exactly how many negatives you end up tallying. In fact, this experiment more-often-than-not ends in a tally of more negatives than positives. But rather than that being a negative in itself, you should instead see it as the perfect opportunity to cut ties with these destructive influences.
Jim’s right – you are the average of those that you choose to spend time with. So choose wisely. Minimize the negatives, maximize the positives, and enjoy the fruits that come from surrounding yourself with success.