Each day is an opportunity. Every time we wake up, we get a new chance to fill our time with different forms of joy — maybe a child’s voice, our favorite song, words on paper, conversations, positive self talk or the processing of thoughts and ideas. There is also an alternative — to fill the day with painful self doubt, arguments, or nasty comments. An email from a boss that isn’t helpful. Loss. Inputs that bring us to a different thought process and even to a different (and sometimes negative) physiological state.
All of these come together to form our experience, our physiology, our mindset, and then that condition sets the stage for your experience for that day. The more we are aware of our surroundings, who we are allowing in our personal space, and what kinds of inputs (video, audio, social media, people) and therefore outputs (our time spent doing X), the more we can change the outcome of our day, week, and ultimately, life.
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You Are Who You’re Around
There are sayings like “You are the sum of your closest five friends” or “You are who you surround yourself with.”
Who do you surround yourself with? Are you around people with similar or dissimilar goals or drive? What about theological or political perspectives? What role do they have in your life? Do they help bring balance and perspective?
All of us have the choice of who we allow that special opportunity to influence our minds, spirit, and souls. If there are things in your life you are extremely happy with, think of who you are doing or experiencing life with in those moments. It could be your parents, your friends, your business associates, your spouse, or your children. Ponder on how you feel when you think about it. You probably experience a physical smile on your face and a happy thought — and you may want to tell others about the wonderful experience you had with this person in this situation.
Conversely, put yourself mentally in the moment of an experience with someone who doesn’t fill your spirit or your mind, but instead who is draining, negative, and unkind.
My guess is immediately you feel your shoulders slouch, your chest might be a bit heavier, and you may think of an uncomfortable conversation or experience. Your state of mind might change from the happiness you were feeling to a sad or uncomfortable state. Is this feeling healthy or helpful?
Isn’t it amazing how easily others can influence us?
I’m not suggesting you won’t ever be down, sad, or even broken. There is nothing that can stop us from experiencing those feelings or moments. But we can control who we surround ourselves with, and therefore open the opportunity for our experiences to be positive. We can seek out a support system of people who provide us with conversation, love, support, or whatever is needed or wanted in hard moments.
Don’t Underestimate the Preciousness of Time
Honestly, I hate this word. I do. Time for this. Time for that. Time to work. Time to play with my kinds. Time to have time. Time to be a dad. Time to be a husband. Time to find houses. Or to have coffee with my Dad. God forbid, time to take my wife on date night.
It all takes time. So what the hell is it? This big, ambiguous animal, the thing we always want more of, that we so casually and easily give away.
We have all these forces fighting for our time and attention — from Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to all the new social media platforms, online games, and websites, all aggressively vying for our attention and time.
Last year, Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, said the average user spends 40 minutes PER DAY on Facebook. It’s terrifying that I would waste so much time reviewing what Sally and Bob had for dinner or what complaint someone had about whatever. All the while, I could have been doing what?
Grabbing a great bourbon with a buddy. Taking my kids to the park. Treating my wife to a night out.
It all still takes choices, planning, and then time.
When you look at the people you are spending time with, you can start to realize first who you are allowing to influence your life. Then you have the personal responsibility to make sure you are giving the right people the opportunity and influence in your life.
Related: How to Use Positive Triggers to Be a More Productive Investor
If you are honest with yourself, my guess is there are 3-4 things in your life you could cut out right now. They are things that don’t increase your happiness, your health, or well being. But it’s easy for us to fall back on things we are used to doing and to become apathetic.
Don’t feel bad. We all do it. We all have those things we want to kick out to replace with something better.
So take a moment go back to the people who you want to emulate, who you enjoy being around, and who can help you be the human you want to become. Then ask them what they do. What do they spend their time on? How do they cut out unhelpful or unhealthy influences? And how can you connect further with them as friends?
Your Influences Are Up to You to Choose
We make decisions on what we do with our time, or we allow outside influence and other people to decide for us. Our happiness is either based on others’ influence and choices or on what we allow to influence us.
In work, in family, in life, have a conscious thought about what you are doing. Who are you spending your time with? I believe very quickly it will be clear whatever you are supposed to be doing, who you want to be, and what actions you’ll need to take.
When your actions, inputs, outputs, and desires are congruent, you will find your limitations less, your time more, and your joy great.
Investors: How do you ensure that the influences on your life are positive?
Let me know with a comment.