How much harder is it?

How much harder is it to do the right thing when you’re surrounded by people with low standards? How much harder is it to be positive and empathetic inside the negativity bubble of television chatter? How much harder is it to focus on your own issues when you’re distracted with other people’s drama and conflict?

~ Ryan Holiday

I consider myself lucky that I’m surrounded by such a terrific group of people: loving, supporting, listening, encouraging– just so many ‘ings.

Also, I’ve built upon my intial luck (parents, gender, skin color, country of birth, the century, etc) by working hard to seek out people who require me to improve. I don’t particularly like the old adage, “you are the average of your five closest friends,” because it’s so trivial as to be of little help. I prefer…

People are like goals in that they pull (or push, this is a choose-your-own metaphor) you in some direction. Sometimes, one person pulls you in several directions at once. Each person pulls you in “lurches” and “yanks”; The more time you spend with them, the more of a concerted effect they’ll have. Some people you cannot choose (to add or remove them from your life, to change their behavior or innate qualities). So you best think very carefully, and act very intentionally, to choose those whom you can.