“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray”
People play a gigantic role in our lives. Families shape our personalities. Friends shape our priorities. Neighbours shape our behaviours. Colleagues shape our attitudes. Leaders shape our ambitions. Our natural desire to fit in and be accepted leads us all to want to conform ourselves to those around us. That is why we should make every effort to surround ourselves with the right people. Who we are traveling with is at least as important as where we are going in life!
But how can we know who the right people are? Sometimes those we ‘write off’ on first impression turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us, right? Or someone that we feel strongly attracted to ends up being a real schmuck once we get close enough to really know them. In fact, we all need a diverse mix of people in our lives in order to function at our best. We need nurturers who encourage and comfort us. We need teachers who improve us. We need leaders who direct us. We need heros who inspire us. We need helpers who assist us. And friends who just enjoy us. So do you have the right people in your life? This might help:
- Character counts. Everybody can fake it in the short term. We can put on a mask and work hard to make an impression. But you can’t fool all the people all of the time. Eventually our fruit reveals what kind of a tree we are. Behavioral patterns reveal people’s real character. The patterns define the person. Watch for them.
- Balance is better. We naturally tend to seek out those who are similar to ourselves. You know, “Birds of a feather…” But teaming up with people just like us tends to make us very one-dimensional. We are challenged to grow faster and bigger when we surround ourselves with people who sometimes oppose us, criticize us, and irritate us! We need a balance of both lovers and leaders in our inner circle.
- Time will tell. Although chance encounters can sometimes be divine appointments, by far the most influential relationships in our lives are longer-term. And the closer people are to us, the longer they will be a fixture in our lives. And the longer the term, the higher the standard we must insist on.
Imagine that there are a series of concentric circles around you. At the outermost edge are strangers. In the next circle are acquaintances. Then colleagues, friends, family, and finally in your innermost circle are your life-partners. Putting this all together means that the closer to us people are, the more we need to make sure that they are the right people. The right people are those of solid, reliable character and long term commitment, regardless of their personality.