Thursday, 10 March 2016

"You are who you surround yourself with"

Do you remember your parents tell you as a teenager or earlier not to hang out with that boy - he's bad news? Or even that girl for that matter? I guess at the time it's hard to see things through someone else's eyes but as we grow older and wiser we begin to see things from a slightly different angle. One or two of us may also have heard the "cliché" "You are who you surround yourself with". Well perhaps there's a little more truth to it than just another old cliché.

It's easy to follow, we do it every day. Whether it's purchasing a fashionable product, following our beloved team or even doing it because your best mate is - it happens all the time. That's not to see there's anything wrong with it, but you have to start questioning ourselves when it starts having a negative impact. Not just in our professional lives but also our personal lives. It is so easy to be influenced by what our closest friends do or in the workplace or classroom, the leaders.

Perhaps that cliché has been a little bit like water off a duck's back with me for thirty odd years too many, but I've always believed in the "journey" being a learning curve all the way. Perhaps no surprise that I only joined university at 37! I have always had a hunger for learning, even in senior management I tried to learn new things, styles and great qualities off other people, every day.

So how does this "You are who you surround yourself with" change who you are? Surely you are who you are and being the strong one, there's no way others will change you! Well let me tell you, it can happen without you even realising! There are certain less attractive qualities in life unfortunately which can spread like a plague. Negativeness for one..... Ever heard someone always having something negative to say about something or someone? What's your reaction? Do you agree with him/her at the time or do you challenge it? Sadly I have seen so many people take pleasure in the sorrow of others..... The Germans have come up with a great name for it.... "Schadenfreude" which literally means "harm-joy". Do you really want to be surrounded with friends of that nature? How often would you hear someone talk badly of someone else yet when you see the two of them together, they seem like great mates? Do you think there's any chance he'll be saying something bad about you? Probably not, because you don't have any faults right?? Lucky you!! Or perhaps rather unlucky you.

There are an endless amount of negative qualities I could waste my morning on but let's not do that. I rather want to focus on positives and why we should concentrate being surrounded by people who's positive outlook on life rubs off on us. Take the work place for instance..... That manager who walks in every morning with a huge smile and who greets everyone by their name, the one who asks you how your weekend's been and if your little boy won their football match! The guy who takes time in getting to know you and therefore remembers every worker's name. Or your colleague who has no problem in sorting out a problem you caused and who ends up working an hour longer than expected despite still having to put food on the table at home, but does it because she cares. Isn't it great when we are surrounded by happy, good people. people who care, people who help others, not expecting a favour in return but because they care. What is life without love?

Isn't it time we focus on being that manager walking in with a smile, taking a minute to ask how we're doing or that lady staying on an hour later? Isn't it time we start caring about one another and be positive about things, enjoying seeing others succeed rather than gaining pleasure in someone else's failure or bad mouthing a mate? If we start spending time with people who care, those who are driven to succeed without harming others being the driving force, those who carry a constant smile on their face and those who don't mind opening a door for another, instead of those spreading a negative plague, I can promise you, the work place, the classroom, the bar, the house, the world would be a much better place. I have seen people change in a space of a year in front of me, I myself have experienced a change, it is so easy. It's not easy changing those people spreading a negative plague and sometimes being the leader of positiveness have no impact, but instead of leaving them behind, perhaps get them into that positive circle and one by one they too may eventually change.....