It’s no secret that who you spend time with determines who you are. Your friends, family, coworkers - every second you spend with them you are being shaped. Hopefully someone’s told you this and it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that if you are spending your time with optimistic, happy, winners - that you are more inclined to be optimistic, happy, and find ways to “win” (however you define winning).
If you want to be happier, you should extend this to the media you consume, as much as you do the people with which you associate. In the era of podcasts, 24 hour news/entertainment, and social media, you are constantly telling your brain what to look for.
I say this as the political season heats up here in the United States and I say it as a warning. If you’re living in the world of American politics, I can almost guarantee that you are not at your optimal happiness. If you’re listening to partisan podcasts, news channels, and tuning into the politically inclined people into your newsfeed, you’re programming your brain to look for hatred, division, mistrust, disrespect, and other things you shouldn’t want to be programmed for.
People often ask if coaching works, which of course it does, but let’s assume that it doesn’t. Pretending all of the strategies and the industry is worthless, If you make the switch from listening to talk radio or political podcasts to listen to something like Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, Mel Robbins, or any other well known coach and do absolutely nothing else, I guarantee that you will see an improvement in your internal happiness and more than likely your life. From doing nothing but taking negative people out of your life and adding positive people into your life.
As we already established, who you spend time with determines who you are. And if the “friends” you’re bringing along on your dog walks, commutes, trips to the gym, relaxation time, are angry, pointing out every injustice, turning you against your fellow humans for being in a different “tribe,” you will become as bitter and angry as they are pretending to be for money (some actually are).
If you listen to someone like Tony Robbins, your brain will start to look for strategies to succeed, how to make a bigger impact in your life, and how to start being happier.
Not everyone has easy access to exceptional people, but we all have an amazing amount of access to exceptional people via books, podcasts, audiobooks, YouTube videos. Seize the opportunity to add some of the most talented and inspiring people to your inner circle by inviting them into your headphones and kicking out the people who are making you suffer.
I sometimes get push back on this from clients as we are taught that civic involvement is a good thing - with which I agree. I know that your heart is in the right place. But I’m also aware that negativity (far too common in political discourse) is a dangerous addiction that can be highly isolating and destructive to your life. So for those people who still want to make a difference, I give you these two humble suggestions that will help you make a difference without sacrificing your sanity.