A few nights ago, I had a vision after finishing a standing meditation.
Nothing scary. I didn’t take any bad shrooms or other psychedelics. I merely quieted the mind for long periods of time, so it could step out of the way.
When my vision ended, I received a very clear sign of its significance and felt inspired to write it here. I’ll reveal exactly what happened at the end of this piece.
I imagined myself at a marketing seminar, chatting with fellow attendees. No idea where – except we were grouped together in a hotel lobby.
A younger guy asked about friends and family.
“How do you know when to cut them out of your life?”
When do they become a bad influence?
Which ones are just looking out for you, when they say something you perceive as negative?
How do you tell the difference?
“That’s so easy,” I answered. “Sometimes, when I talk, people really should take notes. This is one of those times…”
Think about the things you need, to accomplish what you want. If it’s building a business, then you need a marketing plan. You might need product. A website. A storefront. Training. It goes on.
Or perhaps you want to get in better shape. Maybe you’ll need to change your diet, join a gym. That list can grow long as well.
Let’s call everything you could think of… stuff
There’s a big ol’ list of stuff you need to get, do, or have.
And then there’s you.
So, we have two different things here. The stuff and the you.
Now consider someone in your family, or a friend of yours. Someone who’s criticizing, and you wonder if they’re holding you back, being a bad influence, or just looking out for you.
Here’s an easy test to determine that:
Let’s say you’re trying to start a business. And the critic is a friend of yours. The next time you’re talking and the criticism comes up, shrug your shoulders and say something like this:
“Yeah, I know. What I’m attempting is a long shot. Maybe a bunch of the stuff I try won’t work. But I’m going to keep at it until I succeed.” Then, look that person right in the eye and ask: “You believe I’ll eventually succeed… right?”
That person’s answer… is the moment of truth
If the answer is “Yes!” or some equally enthusiastic variation, then you’ve got a keeper.
If the answer is some mutant concoction of other things, like a sideways glance, laughter, some eye-rolling (reading body language is important here), or a dithering “uhhhh” or shoulders shrugging… then you just got your answer.
Don’t wimp out when it comes to your judgement. If you observe anything other than a crystal-clear affirmative answer that you’re going to succeed, then your “friend” might as well be screaming a big, fat “NO” to your face.
If it is indeed a friend… end the friendship.
If it’s a family member… put distance in between yourselves.
If it’s a spouse… consider a divorce.
Because you just found out the root of that person’s skepticism
They’re not skeptical of your plans. That’s fine – healthy, even. YOU should be skeptical of your plans. And training. And ideas. Your stuff. If you have friends or family who can help you weed through stuff that’s not worthy of you, cherish them.
But if you find out the root of someone’s skepticism is you… then you have a deal-breaker. Because it means you’re taking part in a relationship with someone who expects you to fail. Period.
Remove that person from your life.
To quote from Charles Bukowski’s Roll The Dice (a fitting poem for this topic):
“Do it… Do it… Do it… Do it. All the way.”
As far as how to end things, I’m not the authority on that. I’ve always operated on an oddball wavelength, so unsupportive people drifting out of my life has been the norm. I will say that cutting off an abusive friend (if they don’t support you and they do make their lack of support well-known, they’re abusing your friendship) seems more a matter of letting things die down than dramatically cutting things off.
Or you could let the cognitive dissonance machine in your head roar full-blast on this issue. You could make excuses, recoil at such “extreme” measures… and keep your compadre crab positioned perfectly to drag you back into the bucket.
Maybe everything will work out. You’ll keep growing and changing as a person (essential for succeeding in business or transforming your health) and somehow your relationships with the same people will evolve perfectly.
You can keep rotting on barstools with friends, spending Visa or MasterCard’s money on drink tabs while gossiping about people who don’t give a shit about you
Or wasting away weekends on sofas with friends, sharing your latest pre-programmed reactions to the pictures and sounds emanating from your televisions…
… and still somehow land ass-first into riches, a great body, enlightenment, whatever. It could happen.
But based on my experience and observations, it’s rare. Most of the time, people who transform their lives surround themselves with other life-transformers. Or they change their associates, as they grow.
In fact, these kinds of people never really fit into traditional social circles in the first place. They don’t need this advice. So much so, that I hesitate to write any of this, because I wonder if it’s at all useful to a true entrepreneur.
Perhaps if you need this sort of advice… if this sort of thing is hard for you… it might be too late.
I don’t know – but I’m optimistic enough to publish this anyway
The night I had this vision, I imagined finishing my impromptu speech to the young man at the seminar… and even visualized myself having a “mic drop moment” where I nonchalantly drop my microphone to the floor as I walk away.
Right as the microphone hit the floor in my imaginary world… my apartment’s air conditioner, which had been running for about fifteen minutes, shut off. The exact moment.
“Ah, a good sign,” I thought. And I knew I’d write this one down.