“Take the high road. It’s not about choosing between the good and the bad; it’s about choosing between the good and the best.”Dr. Clarence Sexton
Nobody is ever in a constant state, and by that I mean that people change. Changes in our lives don’t occur overnight, but change is evident overtime isn’t it? Nearly everything about us is subject to change and that is out of our hands; but what isn’t out of our hands is the direction of that change.
I think it’s agreeable that we should all drive to be better people, for sure. But how? Well, it comes down to what you’re made of; so let’s talk about that. What are you made of?
You are Who You Associate With
We all have friends, or at least I hope we do. The friends that you have are typically and most likely the people you are closest to. What does it mean to be close to someone? It means those, depending on how “good” a friend you think that person is, they’re someone you’re willing to be vulnerable to.
The capacity in which you become vulnerable to someone depends on your capacity to trust that person. Your capacity to trust them with your past pains, embarrassments and most tightly kept secrets. It even goes so far as your capacity to be influenced by them. The people you spend the most time with are the people who have the greatest influence over you.
In essence, you are who you associate with. By allowing someone to influence you, you allow them to mold the way you think. You let them craft the way you speak and the way that you act. You become like them, and it’s inevitable. So choose carefully your association, and never underestimate the power of peer pressure.
You are What You Read
The people you listen to most are the people who make you the person you are today, and person you’ll be in the future. However, not all the people you listen to are people who speak to you verbally, but they’re the ones who’s thoughts and messages you read. By reading someone’s book, you allow them to speak to you, and you give them a platform to influence you if you keep an open mind to what they’re saying. Perhaps the best way to develop and strengthen your mind, is to read books.
The things you read aren’t limited to just books; there are articles, (like this one, so thanks for reading), magazines, social media posts, emails, texts, memos etc… Everything you read has an impact on you in at least a small capacity. But what if you’re not reading?
If you’re not reading, books that is, I would encourage you to change that. Be a reader. There isn’t anything new under the sun; what you’re going through, someone else has already been there and even wrote about how they handled it. Why reinvent the wheel? Learn from others successes and failures. You’ll find, depending on who you read, that you’ll grow as a person by being a reader. Just remember to be careful who you give a platform of influence in your life. Not every author has righteous motives; and not every well intending author is correct in what they write.
You are Your Habits
Your habits are the manifestation of who you are on the inside. For instance let’s talk about your diet. What you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat can reveal quite a bit about who you are. Knowing these simple details can tell me your general physical health (obviously), but more deeply it can reveal to me your mental state. These details can reveal whether or not you’re under a lot of stress; they tell me if you’re a compulsive person or a disciplined person; they can give me a clue as to how well you sleep and how long you might be sleeping. It’s possible to know all that about you and more just by knowing your eating habits.
We all have a lot of habits, and unfortunately not all of our habits are ones we need to keep. Bad habits are the biggest road blocks to change and personal growth. You’ll never grow as a person if you can’t get over your bad habits. It takes a lot of discipline and patience to grow out of a bad habit.
Something interesting to keep in mind, is that when you attempt to remove a bad habit, you’ll be most successful when you replace it with a good habit. For instance: to stop drinking sodas, you wouldn’t cut off all your fluid intake completely. That would be crazy! Instead you replace soda with water or some other sugar free drink. The same thing should also occur on a more serious level. If you have a habit of watching too much tv, you need to replace it with a different and more rewarding activity. If you don’t, you’ll get bored and go straight back to indulging in your bad habits again.
You are the Sum of Your Choices
The human life is one of decisions. Every choice is a fork in the road, some much more significant than others. Your choices determine the direction in life that you go. They also determine whether you regress, stagnate, or grow and develop.
All choices have consequences, and many choices lead you to junctions where another decision must be made in consequence to the previous decisi. Usually the first choice that you make in any given scenario determines what your choice will be in the next scenario that is similar to it. This is because people act and react based upon their previous experiences. If a previous experience yielded them a negative result that left a bad taste in their mouth, they’ll likely make their decision opposite of their previous one. On the other hand, if their previous experience was positive, they’ll feel comfortable making the same exact decision in their current scenario.
This can be either good or bad for a person, depending on what that experience was. For instance: if someone has an uncomfortable experience with their first cigarette, but their friends give them approval for the action committed, how do you think they will act given the next opportunity to take a smoke with peers? Given the commonality with this scenario, the positive feeling of approval of peers will most likely outweigh the negative feeling of the burning sensation in their throat and lungs, and that person will decide to smoke again. This is how habits are made. This is how the present transforms and dictates the future.
It is very evident that making the right choices now, in the present moments, is vitally important to personal growth. Your decisions, which have consequences, always lead you to another fork in the road where a path must be taken. So choose wisely.
Choose your friends carefully. Be friends with people based upon the person you think you ought to be.
Choose your books carefully, but definitely choose to read. Reading is the best way to develop your mind.
Choose good habits. Develop habits that benefit you and those around you. Be a disciplined enough person to overcome your bad habits, and always replace them with good habits. That’s an intelligent strategy against relapsing into old habits.
Make the right decisions. Make calculated decision. Impulse can be fun, and there ought to be times you make decisions on impulse, (like randomly giving gifts, or going to visit family). Make decisions within the parameters of a good moral scope. This will keep you out of trouble. Always, always remember that every decision has consequences beyond the moment in which it is made. Remember that many decisions will lead you to make decisions based off previous experiences. Do good.
These are what make you, you.