This is a topic that can be argued about for hours if you don’t want to accept the reality. There are many excuses for keeping the same company. You might not want to break a friendship you’ve been in for years. You might not want people to say that you think that you are better than others.
These are all excuses and you don’t have to start being rude to other people. But have you ever stopped to think about achieving your own maximum human potential? Have you ever stopped to think how you can positively influence other people if you start paying attention to your own self-improvement? Are these people you are now hanging out with really concerned about what is best for you, or is it the easy way out for everybody to stay in their comfort zone?
This brings me to this week’s nugget of John L. Mason in his book An Enemy Called Average. It says; “Your best friends are those who bring out the best in you”.
Your Best Friends Are Those Who Bring Out The Best In You.
I often hear when people start to excel in life, how they complain about the “bad vibes” in their circle of friends and even sometimes in their families. They get accused of neglecting their friends, or they get told that they think too much of themselves. Is this really the voice of true friendship?
True friends will encourage one another to constantly expand their horizons. True friendship is about bringing out the best in one another.
John Mason describes it so well when he refers to himself as he reached a stagnation point in his life. He was unproductive and unable to clearly see God’s direction. Until one day when he noticed that almost all his friends were in the same situation. When they got together, all they talked about was their problems.
He prayed about this matter, and God showed him that His desire for him was to have more “foundational-level” people in his life. In John Mason’s words, “such people who bring out the best in us, those who influence us to become better people ourselves. They cause us to have greater faith and confidence, to see things from God’s perspective. After being with them, our spirits and our sights are raised”.
The Bible describes it this way in Proverbs 27:19 (TLB) “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses”, and Proverbs 13:20 says “Be with wise men and become wise. Be with evil men and become evil”.
If You Want To Be Successful You Need To Mix With Successful People.
If you want to be successful you need to mix with successful people. This is one of the first things you get taught on any self-improvement course or when you listen to motivational speakers.
This is a very important principle, and as we saw, a biblical principle on top of it. But it can easily be taken out of context. It doesn’t mean you need to turn your back on the good people who has been close to you. This is where you need to practice discernment. If you were mixing with the “wrong crowd”, by all means yes, get out of there and don’t look back.
But what if you were among some good, well meaning people? Well, don’t you think they deserve a chance at a better life as well? Why don’t you take them on the journey with you? Why don’t you be that best friend first and share what you learn?
The secret lies in the fact to realise when you reach a point of stagnation. Then seek the company of wise people and start learning from them. You can then share what you learn with your friends. But this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where it is decision making time for everybody. Do your friends also want to change and grow, or are they happy to stay in their comfort zone? If they want to stay in their comfort zone, you are left with a decision to make. Are you also going to stay there, are you going to work towards reaching your full potential as a human being?
This doesn’t mean you are turning your back on them and you don’t want to know them, but there will be a spontaneous move to whom you are going to spend most of your time with. This is where you need to make the choices.
Find Your Calling
Your choice of career is obviously playing a major part in achieving your full potential in life. It will be worth your while to spend some time investigating your options.
Once you have found your passion and you start working towards your full potential, choosing the right circle of friends is crucial to your success.
No-one can say better than John Mason when he says “I have found that it is better to be alone than in the wrong company. A single conversation with the right person can be more valuable than many years of study”.
It is not about how many people you can count in your circle of friends; it is about the quality of these people. Are these people of faith? Do they make you a better person by being around them? Do they bring out the best in you? Do they encourage you to grow by going outside your comfort zone? These can be called true friends.
Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 and 12 (TLB) says it this way; “9 Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. 10 If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble…..12 And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
I would like to end this post with another quote from John Mason’s book; “You need to steer clear of negative-thinking ‘experts.’ Remember: in the eyes of average people average is always outstanding. Look carefully at the closest associations in your life, for that is the direction you are heading.”
Do you pay attention to which people you give permission to speak into your life? Do those who are closest to you, bring out the best in you?
What influence do your friends have in your life? I would like to hear from you.