The Three Amigos has to be one of my favorite movies of all time. (Okay, so I’m no film critic!)
If you share my passion for hilarious cinema, you might remember that classic contract negotiation scene where the three silent screen stars (played by Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short) are trying to squeeze studio boss, Harry Flugleman, for a raise. Flugleman, lamenting the diminished returns of the previous “Amigos” movie, confidently concludes, “When you stray from the formula, you pay the price.”
I believe that one line pretty much explains the reason why some people underachieve. They stray from the formula. Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, just may have given us a formula for thriving in life. He famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem and our decisions.
While it’s ideal to be closely surrounded by positive, supportive people who want us to succeed, it’s also necessary to have these same people help us see when we’re off target or flat out wrong. According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, “Tell Me What I Did Wrong: Experts Seek and Respond to Negative Feedback,” novices have a preference for positive feedback, but experts want helpful feedback, so that they can make progress. Who are the people you spend time with? If you’re concerned the people on your list might not be the best for your future, consider some changes – both in yourself and in your choice of associates.
3 ideas for identifying and addressing the ways you are influenced:
- Think about the level of life you desire. Evaluate carefully if those are the best people to help you get to the next level you desire. Don’t be afraid to lose some friends, or anything else, if that means you start surrounding yourself with the right people.
- Give yourself a reality check. Before you begin to analyze your friends and associates, take a long hard look at yourself. It may be that your own negativity or lack of achievement attracts the “wrong crowd.” This is the law of attraction. Planning to change your social circle as an attempt to improve yourself should be part of the formula changing yourself.
- Consider responses to your goals. Positive relationships support positive behaviors. If someone constantly undermines your goals (like tempting you with sweets when you are on a diet) or makes excuses for your failures (like saying, “You didn’t want that responsibility anyway.”) be on your guard. People who do this sort of thing often want to keep you at their level so that they themselves don’t feel any pressure to improve.