Original Link : https://medium.com/mind-cafe/free-yourself-what-is-standing-between-you-and-your-best-self-a59bf2eb3cca

The thing that holds so many people back.

If someone wanted to, they could learn a lot about you, not by meeting you, not by reading anything you’ve written.

They wouldn’t have to listen to a recording or see a video of you. In fact, with zero interaction, they could learn a hell of a lot about you.

How?

By meeting the people you spend the most time with.

Your parents weren’t being crazy when they interrogated your friends, learning their life history, or forbidding you from hanging out with certain people.

Because you were in the first act of a play they’ve seen a hundred times.

They know that if there is anything losers, achievers, thieves, and innovators, have in common, it is that they stick to their own kind.


Use Your Nature to Better Your Life

Let’s unpack the oft-cited phrase, “You are the average of the five people you spend your time with.”

Pick the qualities that describe the person you want to be (kindness, work ethic, humor, generosity, motivation, humility, etc). Let’s put an easy labeled score on that ideal self. We’ll call it a 10/10.

If you score, say, a 6 on that scale, and most of the people around you score a 3, is that the flock of people that will enable your best self?

You are either moving towards or away from the person, you want to become

If your peers are 8’s and 9’s on your scale of perfection, their mere presence, and your open heart and mind, will passively pull you towards the person you want to be.


The Phone Test

Want to know how to tell if you have good friends and associates in your life?

Here’s one simple way to tell. Ask yourself this:

When you see a given friend calling, do you dread the call? Or do you get excited to talk to them?

If conversations consist of a laundry list of problems and complaints, if you get off the phone feeling like a heavy wet blanket was thrown on you, then it might be time to “take out the laundry”.

These people wear you down and turn you into a mass of negativity and complaining.


Personal Example

I dated a troubled young woman in my early 20’s and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

She had major mood problems. She was difficult at every corner. She could be totally irrational. You would not believe the things I had to endure in that relationship.

She came from a terrible upbringing, was put in foster care at age 11. She had mental health issues. She’d had an abusive ex-boyfriend. And for those reasons, I tried to be understanding and stuck around.

It wasn’t until I went through hell that I realized it isn’t my job to fix her.

You aren’t required to keep leeches in your life.

A New Hobby To Consider

George Washington was famous for surrounding himself with a fantastic mix of artists, academics, military minds, musicians, and philosophers. He celebrated the diversity of life in the best way possible.

Like George, why not become a collector of great people? Rather than broken toys?

We don’t get two lives. There are no redos. We get one go at this. We live one good happy, life — or we don’t. And the people we choose to care about will drastically affect that outcome.

I’m not asking you to cut family out of your life or burn every mediocre bridge in your life. But I am asking you to make a very sober assessment of your relationships.


Of Oceans And Happiness

There’s a phenomenon in fishing, where a fisherman will pull in a large group of crabs, place them into a giant barrel to store while the boat heads back to shore. If you look within that barrel, you will see crabs roiling around, scurring and attempting to escape.

Every few minutes or so, one crab will be on the verge of escaping from that barrel. He will get up to the ledge, securing his claw on it, get one leg up and over it. And just as he is about to jump to freedom, swimming free in the ocean — another crab will grab his foot, pulling him down into the barrel of doomed crabs.

People can be exactly like crabs in a barrel.

Just you are making progress, you will feel your ankle being grabbed, pulling you down into the abyss. You can be having a good day, only for someone to start drama or cause problems or pick a fight over nothing.

You aren’t beholden to toxic people. You have the right to be happy.

Swim away.

Surround yourself with the people who most resemble the person you want to become. And you will become a heck a lot more like that person.

If you spend enough time with nine miserable people, you are bound to become number ten.