(Prov 13:20) He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
As the past year gradually came to its expected end, the New Year is usually a time when we all take stock and measure our successes against our set goals to see if we measure up or not. I’m writing on association because it is clear enough that young folks have tremendous influence on one another be it by persuasion or by pressure. It is also clear that one can be focused, overcome peer pressure and be prosperous through the relationships one keep in life. You must understand that hanging out with others implies love and attachment and so very difficult not to imitate those we love.
Do you want to be successful in every area of your life? Do you desire a good and lasting marriage? Do you want to live your dreams and fulfill your aspirations? They all sound like rhetorical questions but if you really mean the answers not only will you take the time to read through the wisdoms embedded in this article, you will follow them closely and apply them to your life.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character
I want to start by saying that the people you relate with are a significant factor of what you become in life (destiny). There is a popular Nigeria saying that goes, “show me your friends and I’ll tell you whom you are”. I will like to take it a bit further by saying that if you show me your friends; I will tell you where you’re heading in life. The people you relate with daily are a significant factor in determining what you become in life.
Think of it this way, if you are to run 100 meters alongside the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt I bet your level of preparation for the race would be quite different from having to run the same distance with an ordinary person. Your level of focus and determination would also be different. That shows that the people you run with or against determine where, how and when you run so you must constantly check the people in your inner cycle, the people you run with. These associations will also determine how tenacious you will be with your studies, your relationship with God and how you view your life purpose.
Chris Hughes was one of the four cofounders of Facebook and opened the fifth ever facebook account (Zuckerberg had the fourth, and the first three reserved for testing). Being Zuckerberg’s friend and sophomore roommate at Harvard, Chris received one stock percent of Facebook and when the company went public last year was worth, according to Forbes, at least $600 million turning him into an instant millionaire. Though, Chris performed different roles at Facebook, he wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity if he hadn’t been associated with Zuckerberg.
I challenge you to take a closer look at the people you surround yourself with right now and carry out an honest analysis. To better achieve this, I will explain the classes of relationships there are. According to John Maxwell, there are 4 kinds of people: Adders, Subtractors, and Multipliers & Dividers. So my question to you is which one are you and which ones are the friends that surround you right now?
Who are the Adders?
•They add virtue to all areas of your life
•They bring positive influence without any strings attached
•They always help you grow and mature.
•They help you venture out of your comfort zone.
Who are the Subtractors?
•They are taking from you
•They work to strip you of your confidence, resources, and your God given abilities.
•They sometimes take away from you unintentionally with their problems.
•They diminish and drain you of time, energy, emotions and money.
They are sometimes not our enemies but people who are close surprisingly close to us. As Chris Gardner (The Pursuit of Happyness) said, “you got a dream; you’ve got to protect it”
Who are the Multipliers?
•They increase your virtue. An encounter with them will transform your life.
•They are caring and sincere
•They have the gift of discovering people’s potential and work with them in fulfilling it.
•They challenge you but also support you along the way.
Who are the Dividers?
•They basically divide relationship and put wedges amongst people.
•Manipulative, deceptive and dangerous.
•Their mission is to dismantle your goal, visions and dreams through distractions.
•They will separate you from people that will help you achieve your purpose.
•They are insecure people who prey on you to make themselves feel better. They are intimidated by your competence and confidence.
•They will work overtime to keep you away from adders and multipliers
So which are you? What about the people you surround yourself with? What category does your family, colleagues, classmates, leaders and most importantly your friends belong in? Do they encourage and challenge you or do they drain you? Do they make you a better person or work against your progress intentionally or unintentionally?
Here’s what to Do
(2 Corinthians 6:14) Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
•Learn to be adders and multipliers in the lives of other people.
•You must have the spirit of discernment to know what people around you represent.
•Learn the art of limited & expanded association by identifying the most important people to you and rearranging your schedule to spend quality and more time with them.
•Define Key relationship in your life
•Establish the purpose of each and assign values or names to them
•Some are definitely not working and thus have to let go
1.Develop a budget for each of them:
•How much of your time and resources do you want to spend on them?
•Resist giving more than you envisaged
1.Compartmentalize your relationships:
•Some people don’t matter in some areas of your life i.e. finance, personal, spiritual etc.
•Let each relationship serves its purpose and not allow to spill over to another
Finally, remember, you are as strong as your weakest link, take the time to cultivate positive relationships and make the best use of what you have. Your associations could be in the form of the books you read the movies you watch and the music you listen to. I know you have the seed of greatness inside of you and so until the next time, I challenge you, rise, run and reign.
Gbenga is the coordinator of SAVVY youth ministry and the President of Global Christian Event Network Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org