I was recently speaking with a group of young professionals on the topic of grit and resilience. That is, the ability to both bounce back from setbacks and to stay persistent in the face of obstacles. Grit and resilience are characteristics of successful living that we teach in Success U.
Someone in the group asked how you build resilience so that you are not so affected by the ups and downs of life (particularly failure). I highlighted the need for surrounding yourself with people that broaden and build you. Your community, or the people you spend the most time with, matter greatly. “Choose wisely,” was the message.
Following that brief introduction into the topic, I received an email from one of the participants that had a question. “What if you are surrounded by some negative people that don’t broaden and build you, but rather slowly, passively, bring you down? What if you don’t have a choice about who you spend the most time with?”
That question is tied to another important component of success – clarity. Clarity includes things like self-awareness, core values, life purpose, etc. We must first address this to be able to answer the original question.
When you feel stuck in a particular situation, like you have no choice, you may be playing victim to the tyranny of “or.” The question is never “should I do A or should I do B?” The question is, there are an infinite amount of choices and options and I get to choose which one best fits with my core values and life purpose. What will I choose?
You must reject the tyranny of “or” and embrace the genius of “and.” The fact of the matter is with whom you spend time is entirely up to you. You always have a choice.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not heartless. You may be thinking of colleagues, a significant other, or most challenging, family members. You may feel like you are stuck with them. That is normal. Completely normal, in fact. But in reality, you have a choice, don’t you?
If your sister (for example) is a negative energy in your life, you could choose to distance yourself from her. If the thought of that upsets you, or seems completely unacceptable, then you need to embrace the consequences of that choice by recognizing the core value at play.
You may value familial relationships too much to cut your sister off. Well that’s a beautiful thing! You see, you are actually choosing to continue a relationship with your sister because family means too much for you to cut her off. Let’s celebrate the value, appreciate why you are so committed to it, and wake up remembering that you are making a choice to have a negative person in your life – that you are willing to make some sacrifices to honor that value. That’s wonderful, conscious living.
With awareness comes choice, and with choice comes freedom. Freedom from feeling trapped, stuck, and frustrated.
It’s up to you. It’s always up to you.