You may not be able to ‘judge a book by its cover,’ but you can normally get a pretty good feel for what it’s about.

People are a bit more complex but the same principle applies. If you show me what surrounds a person’s life, I’ll have very good insight into who they are and where they are heading.

By ‘surroundings’ I’m not referring to just their physical environment, although this does play its role, I’m suggesting that this is any external force that influences an individual. What we put into our minds, spend our time on, and who we associate ourselves with, determine the person we are and are going to become. We must first become aware of these influences.

Garbage In Garbage Out
A song from my childhood comes to mind, “Oh, be careful little ears what you hear…” Some of us heard advice like this from an early age, but grasping this concept is not that easy. Our senses act like funnels to our moods, desires, and thoughts. But this isn’t and obvious shift, it’s a slow killer that sneaks up while devouring your potential.
Some examples include: TV, Music, Radio, News, Social Media, Netflix, etc. These things are not inherently wrong, but in most cases, they are not working foster better and better habits. Let’s take the News for example, this is something that I stopped watching some time ago now.

Have you ever noticed that ‘news’ tends to be negative? Why? It sells! We are programmed to be attracted to the dramatic headlines. It’s not out of the ordinary for someone to spend a couple of hours on negative content like this a day which has an impact on our ability to be positive.

This is only a small example, but the negative impact media (not just news) can have on us will slowly corrupt our mindset with time. However, what’s more dangerous is that we allocate our time to content that helps us in no way instead of dedicating it to bettering ourselves. It’s a lose-lose. Why not use that time to improve?

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together
We’ve all heard the sayings, “You’re an average of the five people you hang with,” “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” The reason almost any successful person who speaks on the subject brings these points up is… IT’S TRUE!

Who are the five people you hang out with the most? Do they bring you up or down? Do they push you to be better or simply criticize and complain? I get it, when the answer to these questions is unfavorable it’s tough. These are your friends and you probably feel a loyalty to them.

Am I telling you that you need to stop hanging out with them and find new friends? Well no…. that would only be my advice if you want to progress your life and become better. You by no means must do that, but I can promise you that you are wasting your potential if you don’t.

This was the hardest thing for me to do in progressing myself, but it is also something that I am very grateful I mustered up the courage to go through with. You will be amazed at the growth you will begin to see once you get around a group of uplifting like-minded individuals.

You must not only protect what enters your mind, you must proactively make sure that it doesn’t fall into the ‘neutral’ category either. Purposely feed yourself POSITIVE material daily. The same goes for your friends – if they are bad influences or simply ‘indifferent,’ then you should actively be looking for people who are going to lift you up!