Monday, July 21, 2014

Deleting Poisonous People

Deleting Poisonous People

A healthy person has to prune his social circle about once every 3-5 years.  You will discover the depressed person (who relishes in their depression), the narcissist, or the coward.  Sometimes it takes time to learn these important things about people.  But, you will have to delete these people.  We usually cannot choose family or blood, but we can choose who we hang out with regularly.

To be a winner, you will have to do what winners do.  Sometimes winners do things that ordinary people find difficult impossible, or uncomfortable. 

Tim Ferris once said that success is directly related to the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.  This sounds true to me.  In his book, The 4 Hour Workweek, this section jumped out at me for the truth value it carries and the ageless wisdom it contains:

Exact numbers aren’t needed to realize that we spend too much time with those who poison us with pessimism, sloth, and low expectations of themselves and the world. It is often the case that you have to fire certain friends or retire from particular social circles to have the life you want. This isn’t being mean; it is being practical. Poisonous people do not deserve your time. To think otherwise is masochistic.

The best way to approach a potential break is simple: Confide in them honestly but tactfully and explain your concerns. If they bite back, your conclusions have been confirmed. Drop them like any other bad habit. If they promise to change, first spend at least two weeks apart to develop other positive influences in your life and diminish psychological dependency. The next trial period should have a set duration and consist of pass-or-fail criteria.

If this approach is too confrontational for you, just politely refuse to interact with them. Be in the middle of something when the call comes, and have a prior commitment when the invitation to hang out comes. Once you see the benefits of decreased time with these people, it will be easier to stop communication altogether.

I’m not going to lie: It sucks. It hurts like pulling out a splinter. But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.

Remove the splinters and you’ll thank yourself for it.

This is brilliant advice. 

The question will come about enemies and swords sharpening swords, and conflict being good for the soul.  This is very correct.  Here is the problem.

Many Americans think that being positive is the absence of conflict or discomfort.  This is false.  Being positive is exactly what it means in science: forward movement.  You are in a positive environment if you are growing and moving forward, despite conflict and stress.  Eu-stress is good: biking for one hour or lifting weights is good stress.  Distress is bad: being injured or having a conversation with a person in despair is bad stress.


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