This is a repost from a blog I had about a decade ago. Even though it has been a decade since I originally wrote this, I believe the lessons are still very valid for the times we are in…
This topic has been on my mind for a while but no introduction ever seemed to fit. It was not until this morning, I was trying to wipe water that spilled on the floor. I had my bowl of water and my mop, and then my mind did a flash back to a HIV advert I watched on MTV about a year ago. Two young guys were about to go diving. The first guy insisted on going in with their safety gear. His friend said, “No we always go in with it, there are no sharks around. Let’s just go in this once without it.” The guy still argued with his friend a bit but finally his friend convinced him and they both dived in without their safety gear. True to the way life usually works out, they both got eaten by sharks.
It is a fact that those we constantly associate with have the power to either add to us or subtract from us. When we constantly interact with people, before long, we find ourselves beginning to act, speak and think like them.
If your inner circle is made up of people who constantly and without fail, sit around and engage in idle chat and gossip, while arguing about non-issues, before long, you would find yourself doing the same.
On the other hand, If your inner circle is made up of people who are focused, driven and serious minded, you too will have no choice but to be like them.
There have been a number of literature that have been dedicated to explaining the impacts of friendships and associations. The Bible also supports it in Proverbs 13 vs. 20 which states:
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
I like to believe that there are 5 different kinds of friends. They include, Refreshers, Refiners, Reflectors, Reducers and Rejecters. Below is a brief explanation of each category;
Refreshers: These are friends or acquaintances who strengthen your faith, encourage and energize and motivate you towards achieving your goals and vision. They too have big dreams and share a similar vision with you. When you interact with these people, your energy level goes up and you stay inspired.
Refiners: This group of people clarify your vision. After interacting with a refiner, you leave the room feeling more energised and with a clearer definition of your vision. They are very similar to the refreshers.
Reflectors: This group of people neither add nor subtract from you. They only mirror your energy. You have a great time interacting with them but you do not feel that you have learnt anything new, neither do you feel worse off. Most work colleagues fall into this category.
Reducers: These are people who actively/unconsciously try to diminish your goals and efforts to bring you down to their comfort level. Most of the time, they are people that are too afraid to see beyond their present situation and they get uncomfortable when they see someone with a large vision. You find out that, after interacting with such people for a long period of time, you feel like your energy levels are down. Perhaps you may feel some feeling of dismay after a long period of interacting with these individuals.
Rejecters: These are people who do not understand you or what you are trying to achieve. They keep criticizing everything and do not attempt to understand. After interacting with a rejecter, you may feel a sense of discomfort and lack of peace.
I believe that it is very easy to categorise your friends and acquaintances into the five categories stated above using their word patterns and reactions to concepts and ideas you come up with. It is now your responsibility to consciously decide who you want to keep in your life and who you need to perhaps not have that close association with if you know that they are/may become hindrances to the fulfillment of your dreams and vision.
I hope this has blessed you as much as it has blessed me.
Have a fulfilling week ahead.