16. Choose the happy few
Politely walk away from friends who don’t support the changes in your life. There will be friends who don’t. They will be jealous and afraid every time you make a change. They will see your new motivation as a condemnation of their own lack of it. In subtle ways, they will bring you back down to who you used to be. Beware of friends and family who do this. They know not what they do. The people you spend time with will change your life in one way or another. If you associate with cynics, they’ll pull you down with them. If you associate with people who support you in being happy and successful, you will have a head start on being happy and successful.
Throughout the day we have many choices regarding who we are going to be with and talk to. Don’t just gravitate to the coffee machine and partcipate in the negative gossip because it’s the only game in town. It will drain your energy and stifle your own optimism. We all know who lifts us up, and we all know who brings us down. It’s okay to start being more careful about to whom we give our time. In his inspiring book Spontaneous Healing, Andrew Weil recommends : “Make a list of friends and acquaintances in whose company you feel more alive, happier, more optimistic. Pick one whom you will spend some time with this week.”
When you’re in a conversation with a cynic, possibilities seem to have a way of dissappearing. A mildly depressing sense of fatalism seems to take over the conversation. No new ideas and no innovative humor. “Cynics,” observed President Calvin Coolidge, “do not create.” On the other hand, enthusiasm for life is contagious. And being in a conversation with an optimist always opens us up to see more and more of life’s possibilities.
Kierkegaard once said, “If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, see the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never.”