Total Read Time: 5 Minutes
Have you ever heard about the family that you actually got to choose for yourself? How about that you are the average of the 5 closest people to you? (Tim Ferriss quote… Seems to be a theme in my mentorship). The common denominator is your choice.
It really doesn’t matter where you are in life, what you’re working on, how much you’ve accomplished up until this point, or where you’re headed. The most valuable thing in our lives, is our relationship with the people around us.
Let’s take a bleak turn to drive it home.
On your death bed… Here Andrey goes again… You really get a clear picture of what truly mattered in your life. This is a gratefulness exercise. Imagine someone close to you died yesterday. What would you pay/do for one more day with them? Probably anything. I would pay anything…
This should make most of the so-called “problems” in your life go away instantly. Your relationship with people is above everything else.
Consider THIS before your next conversation.
Your day is built upon choices you make. You employ discipline, you have routines, and you choose the manner in which you conduct your relationships.
- Significant other
Every interaction you have can be a withdrawal or a deposit into your ongoing relationship.
Visiting your mom and spending time cooking with her: Deposit.
Visiting your mom and communicating your stresses in life: it may sound like a withdrawal because stress can be vicariously taxing, but I’d bet it’s a deposit in your mom’s eyes.
Visiting your mom and recommending new exercises, yoga, hiking, and general motivation for getting more active: sounds like a deposit because of great intentions, but could be a withdrawal if mom is a human and takes criticism with a grain of salt.
The most immediate use of this logic is at work.
Everyone has difficult coworkers, an unreasonable boss, and unfathomable clients/customers. If you structure your interactions, with positive intention, your days will get better, I promise you.
“This isn’t manipulation, unethical, or deceitful. The key is to care.”
If you struggle to care for someone, realize they are structurally tied to “the mission” and you will lose without their help. If you want a good shift at the restaurant you work at, the bad server needs help with their 3 table section. If they don’t get help from you, they’ll give poor service, bring out food late, force the food to get cold and the table will ask for the food to get remade, that will slow down the kitchen, and then YOUR table’s food will be slow and your table will be upset with YOU. I digress.
Surround yourself with Positivity
My best friend David DM’d me a quote on instagram: “Pay attention to with whom you feel your best.”
I later saw another one of those quotes: “Pay attention to who is happy with you, when you’re winning.”
It’s so environmental. Tying back to one of my earlier articles, The Hands That Hold You Down, your environment is directly responsible for not just holding you accountable, but directly influencing the quality of the decisions you make for the day ahead of you.
It’s quite easy once you do the mental heavy lifting. And that is, Honesty. Once you are honest with yourself and answer the following questions, you can easily delegate your attention toward the positivity in your life.
- What facet or quality of your life would you like to make more deposits into? (Love, Health, Finance, etc.)
- When you think of a deposit, what does it look like?
- Is it more time with a loved one? Is it eating healthier foods? Is it avoiding going out when money can be allocated more prudently?
- Think about who helps you deposit into those categories and who forces you to withdraw from them.
- At the same time, think about who gives you negativity when you share your progress and who celebrates with you and supports your successes.
Confronting these people can seem so difficult, but I promise you it’s easier than you think, and quite addicting after you start.
For example, I’ve recognized alcohol as a slippery slope in my life that I needed greater control over. See Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments. I had to take an honest look at my life and recognize who I naturally drank more alcohol with.
“My approach was initially light handed”
I suggested alternative activities like playing frisbee, skateboarding, bike rides. Fortunately for me, some of my friends really enjoy doing those things and it was easy to structure hanging out without alcohol needing to be involved.
After hanging out, I just needed to decline an offer to go to a bar or hangout and have a beer.
However, some of my other friends really don’t do much other than drink. They would ask me to hang out, and I had to say I’m busy. It wasn’t unreasonable, since I work a lot and generally live further away. (It really helps that I work night shifts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and they work a M-F 9-5). Conflicting schedules, busy lives, and if all else fails…
“I’m saving for a wedding.” (Also very true and an incredible motivator).
Prescribe yourself Positivity
I freaking love a conservatory. Plants are beautiful, the buildings are warm and humid, it’s oxygen rich, everyone is in a good mood at a conservatory. I can’t think of a better place to go for positivity than Nature. If it’s cold outside, if you’re in a big city like me, odd’s are there is a conservatory near by that eliminates the cold and the distant forest. The Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago is free, and parking is free, so there are really no excuses.
Start a day off with some arugula, sunflower seeds, an apple, some olive oil. Visit a conservatory. Take some photos with your phone of a weird plant or a cool turtle.
“Clear your headspace by flooding it with positivity and displacing anything that’s been holding you back.”
Once you’re in that state of bliss, go through the questions again. It’s uncanny what a new mindset can shed light on.
It will have a domino effect
Surrounding yourself with positive influences and people who celebrate you cascades into every facet of your life. People who you care about, and who care about you give life a new meaning. It gets easier to wake up in the morning. You fall asleep quicker at night. Stress dissipates and so does the blood pressure.
I want everyone to feel significant. If you take the time to filter your life for the things that lift you up, you too will want to give back as much as possible.
To the people who help me climb to new heights, you know who you are.
(Yes, I respond and read every one)