I Have been reading an excellent book by Angela Duckworth titled GRIT, which I highly recommend - for us as individuals and as parents. With statistics and fascinating anecdotes this author reminds us that success is not just about talent. It's about hanging in there and not giving up, finding what you're good at and what you love and then getting better at it and making things happen in your life.
The last section of the book tells how to build "grit" in our kids and one thing she said really struck me: "Whether we realize it or not, the culture in which we live, and with which we identify powerfully shapes just about every aspect of our being. By culture I don't mean the geographic or political boundaries that divide one people from another as much as the invisible psychological boundaries separating us from them. At its core, a culture is defined by the shared norms and values of a group of people."
This really resonated with me. I'm sure you've heard the saying, Birds of a feather flock together. Here's another one you may have heard: Bad companions ruin good character. (That one's right out of the Bible - 1 Corinthians 15:33 ) I've seen first hand how the people in my life have influenced me. I bet you have, too.
Applying this idea of culture to our lives, I think it's important to ask ourselves some important questions, the first one being, "What do I want out of life?" If you want to to be successful in your endeavors, you do well to hang out with people who are equally ambitious. If you have dreams, surround yourself with people who will encourage you to go after those dreams. If you want to save money, don't hang out with people whose lifestyle involves racking up credit card debt on fancy grown-up toys and expensive vacations and dinners out. They'll only mock you for being so cheap and sneer at your out of date ______ (clothes, technology, car, you fill in the blank.) If you hang around people who are wise with their money and who will encourage you to do the same you'll have the support you need to reach your financial goals. If you're trying to eat healthfully or lose weight, you're better off hanging out with people who won't try and seduce you with hot fudge sundaes and chips.
And as far as our kids go, if we want them to have well-balanced, fulfilled lives and high moral standards, it's important to make sure we know who our little chickies are calling friends.
If you've got dreams, if you're still searching for your purpose in life, I encourage you not to give up. If you've got young ones you want to see live up to their potential or if you want to live up to your potential, I encourage you to get this book. It will be a good investment in your future.