In my conditioning classes, I have a front row. These are the electric people, the ones who are so positive and motivated that they inspire the rest of the class. In my life, I also have a front row. The front row are people I count on, people of whom I ask questions, people whose opinions I value, people I trust. These are people who are my friends even when it is difficult. I also have a balcony. These are the people who I may call friends, but who must be loved at a distance.
Who is in the front row of your life? Friends are like family-they have access to your life, to your innermost thoughts and feelings. Because friends get very close to you, they know things that you would never tell anyone else. Friendship is easy, when people say what you want them to say and do what you want them to do. But it is much harder when friends do stupid things, or even hurt you. People are human, and over the course of nearly any relationship, a friend will hurt you. Yet if you can weather the storm together and come out on the other side with a more honest relationship that is a friend you need to keep.
Like a sponge, you unconsciously soak up the attitudes, behavior and even the opinions of the people with whom you’re most closely associated. Not everyone is healthy enough to be in the front row of your life. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you minimize your association with draining, negative, pessimistic people. A pessimistic front row can be enough in itself to condemn you to a lifetime of failure and underachievement.
The more you seek quality, respect, growth, love, truth, and peace of mind, the easier it will be to decide who sits in your front row and who needs to be moved to the balcony. If you can’t change the people around you, you should change the people you are around.
New members of my class often mention the positive attitude and the support they receive from others. The air just crackles with intensity. Everyone helps everyone else. It wasn’t always like that. One Sunday night, nine years ago, I realized that I dreaded going to work on Monday morning. I had opened this studio and built the business of my dreams. So why did I not want to go to work? The answer, I realized was that I was accepting payment from a lot of people who I didn’t actually like very much. The students were nearly all negative, pessimistic people. When you allow that influence into your life, it tends to grow and submerge other attitudes. So I came to work and fired 27 of my 30 clients, only three remained-Beverly Rubenstein, Mary Hook, and Art Gonzalez. They were in the front row of my class and my life and I wanted to keep them there. It may have appeared ill advised to fire most of the clients of a fledgling business, but it was that important to me to rout out negative influences. Now I truly have the kind of business of which I dreamed, and it is unlike any other. I can’t wait to go to work in the morning.
Now I have a consultation for anyone who wants to join the class. It gives me a chance to find out if I actually like them, and if they can bring a positive attitude to the class. As a result, now my clients are electric people. They have their lights on. They’re willing to go out on a limb and express concern about someone else. They are brave. They express appreciation. I have chosen friends and clients more carefully. You should do the same.
How do you get rid of negative people and influences? Abandon any contact with them. This is especially true if it is a family member. They can be the most destructive because of their easy access to you. When you want someone out of your life, simply avoid contact with them. If they want to know why tell them so directly. Most of the time, they will not even ask why. They already know why, or don’t care. But if they ask, tell them. If it is because they are cynical, negative and pessimistic, tell them so. If you simply make excuses instead of giving them the real reasons, they will eat away your resolve with counter-arguments.
If you don’t rid yourself of negative people and influences, you will never be able to fulfill your possibilities.
Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.