Mar 062016 2 Responses

The Greatest Predictor of Your Future

I can predict your future. With near perfect accuracy, I can tell you which direction your life is headed and, therefore, what your future likely holds.

Tell me who is influencing your life and I’ll tell you where you are going.

With great regularity, I interact with people who want to make drastic life changes. Maybe they’ve been caught. Maybe they’ve experienced a series of negative consequences because of bad decisions. Maybe they’ve just grown weary of having the same problems over and over again. Whatever the reason, they want to change. (See: Accept the Temporary Nature of Friendships)

Their desire is good. Their intention is pure. But it doesn’t work. After a day or a week or a month, they are no different than before. Why? Because they are still being influenced by the same people. They thought they could experience major life change without changing their relationships. They can’t.

No one can.

Relationships influence us. More than any other aspect of life, who we spend time with is the defining factor of who we become. You can’t change your life without changing your relationships.

Of course, we can’t change some relationships. Many people are placed into our lives without our choices–family, co-workers, customers, neighbors, bosses, etc. While we have some say in those relationships, for the most part they are chosen for us. However, there are some relationships in which we have total control.

Intentionally choosing wise people with whom we spend our free-time can greatly impact our lives.

Marriage. One of the best things a couple struggling in marriage can do is to find a more mature couple and to meet with that couple on a regular basis. Almost as much as counseling, a mentor couple can greatly impact your marriage. Listen to their mistakes. Learn from their successes. Understand what issues are important and which ones are not. If you want a good marriage, find a couple to look up to and learn from them. (See: Every Couple Needs a Couple)

Career. Your peers rarely advance your career. You need someone who is smarter than you, more experienced than you, and can see a broader perspective than your friends. Having someone who can help you navigate your career is a great asset. They can identify your strengths, know which weaknesses must be developed and which can be compensated for. They can also tell you what is worth the effort and what is not.

Parenting. If nothing else, we all need help in parenting just to have someone tell us we are not alone. At times, every good parent feels like a total failure. Knowing we aren’t completely messing up our kids is a great encouragement. Having a friend whose kids are a bit older is very helpful in the parenting game. They can warn you what is on the horizon, guide you in the right direction, and pick you up when you feel like a failure.

Life. Generally, you will become like your friends. It’s not a total guarantee, but in most cases it is true. Surrounding yourself with friends whom you admire and trust is essential to becoming the person you want to be. Your heart will be molded into the likeness of those you are around. Make sure you like those people enough to want to become like them.

I’m not saying if you want to change your life, you have to drop every old friend. We aren’t just using others for our own gain. However, we must understand the significant role others play in our lives. While we can befriend and help others who need help, we must act with great intention to spend meaningful time around those people whom we want to become like. (See: Only Tell Your Problems to Two People)

Few things shape our character like our relationships. Choose wisely the people who get your time.

As you:

  • eat
  • vacation
  • enjoy a ballgame
  • watch a movie
  • have coffee
  • play tennis

you will become like the people you are with. Choose the right crowd and you will be set in a good direction. Choose the wrong crowd and you may not even be able to recognize yourself in five years.

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