Your identity drifts in the direction of those you spend time with, because everything important is contagious: moods, attitudes, beliefs, desires, values. Happiness or sadness, success or failure: what you surround yourself with is what you’ll get. You will be influenced, so choose your influences wisely.
Your time is limited and you can’t interact with everyone, so be selective about whom you spend time with. To make more time for those who deserve you, spend less time with those who don’t. To allow negative people to waste your time, to let inertia keep you in suboptimal relationships, is to devalue yourself, dishonor your gifts, and deprive others more deserving of your time. Move away from people who hold you back and toward people who propel you forward.
Selectivity requires options, so fill your life with choice. Be ultrasocial, and cultivate your network of friends. Be so interesting and fun that people crave the gift of your time. Look for opportunities to give value, not to take value. Earn the right to have amazing people in your life by being an amazing person.
Who deserves your time? People you admire and want to emulate. People who are improving themselves, and want to help you improve yourself. People with the traits you’re trying to develop more of: happiness, positivity, passion, adventure.
Who doesn’t deserve your time? People who hold you back from living your ideal life. People who are negative, inflexible, judgmental, dishonest.
Does this seem cold, calculating, opportunistic? It doesn’t have to be.
You can be selective and unselfish: By filling your life with amazing people you’ll be better able to serve the world and help others live their best lives.
You can be selective and compassionate: You can offer your strength to those who need it and deserve it. But you run the risk of being pulled down, so be sure you’re strong enough to pull you both up.
You can be selective and inclusive: Shine your light in all directions, like a star. But move toward those who deserve your warmth, to shine on them more brightly.
You can be selective and loyal: Be loyal to friends who have earned your loyalty through prior kindnesses, and to family who have earned your loyalty simply by being family. But don’t let anyone claim loyalty as an excuse for not treating you the way you deserve to be treated.
This approach makes sense not just for friends, but for everyone you share your life with. So build a dream team: mentor, coach, cheerleader, muse. And since your romantic partner will affect you more than anyone else, find someone especially amazing for that role.
The world is filled with passionate, inspiring, awesome people. It’s also filled with complainers, cheaters, freeloaders, and energy vampires who will suck the life out of you if you let them. You have the power to choose which group to let in to your life.