(Everyone will remain anonymous in the following post in order to protect their identities.)
Recently, a friend of mine came calling and had to vent to me on how much she was stressing out. Bonnie, we’ll call her. Let’s just say she’s a “project manager”, and there were groups of people she had to lead and manage in order to finish this project. Bonnie told me how basically every team member had their own egos and ulterior motives, didn’t care about the project or task at hand, whined about petty things, and generally just acted like they didn’t want to be there. None of her team members listened to her or respected her. Clearly, a lot of negative energy existed within the work environment. Poor Bonnie.
Another project manager, Jack we’ll call him, also had to manage a team project. In contrast, all of Jack’s team members were energetic, mature, disciplined, and positive team players. They didn’t whine about petty happenstances or complain about being overworked and underpaid. They were all interested in completing the project to the best of their ability, and were willing to go the extra mile to get it done. All they needed to sacrifice was their energy, time, and effort. They had no egos. They worked as a team. Most importantly, they were role players, and they respected and listened to the project manager, Jack.
Team Bonnie’s project was a disaster. Egotistical team members, broken chain of command, disorganized environment, and a total misuse of resources led to a nightmare situation for Bonnie. The project was a failure.
Team Jack on the other hand, got the project finished on time and on budget. Team members were happy working together, the environment was organized, and Jack did a great job staying positive when problems surfaced and kept the team together and focused on the project. The project was a success.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Bonnie had a poor judgement of her team members and their characters.
Bonnie chose the wrong team members to work on their project. The people who worked on her project were full of themselves, lazy, unmotivated, and disorganized. They weren’t positive, hard working team players. They cared more about chatting or eating rather than working. They treated the project as a “job”. This is Bonnie’s fault because she had direct control over who was going to work on the project.
Jack chose the “good guys” to work with.
Jack’s team was the exact opposite. They treated the project as something they loved to do and be a part of. Jack knew that these people–whether working in a project environment or outside of it–were genuinely good people in real life. Whether it was fishing the most fish, scoring the most points, or raising the most funds, it didn’t matter what the task was as Jack knew he surrounded himself with the right people. That’s why he picked them to work on the project, and that’s what made the difference.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH IMPROVING MY LIFE?
You are who your friends are.
If you surround yourself with good-natured, willing, helpful folks with a positive attitude, they will always be there to give you a helping hand. If your friends are lazy, selfish, negative people with poisonous attitudes, they will always be the ones giving you bullshit. They will be the ones who steal your money, flop on you, take advantage of you, kick you down to fuel their own egos, and will never be there to support you (financially, physically, or spiritually). Good friends are people who are always improving themselves and going places in life; their positive synergy motivates you and helps you push forward. Bad friends are complacent and lazy; they will only drag you down into their own misery and affect you with their negative energy.
Everything in life functions like a team sport, and you’re only as strong as your team.
Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, and the Bulls. Georges St-Pierre has Tristar MMA and Team Greg Jackson. Anderson Silva has Team Blackhouse. Manny Pacquiao has Freddy Roach and his team. Mayweather Jr. has Mayweather Senior and his entire entourage.
These people are undoubtedly talented by themselves, but they would not be where they are now without their friends, family, and the positive team members they surrounded themselves with. A boat can only sail with a team paddling it. The leader can tell the team where to paddle to avoid obstacles and travel the fastest, but he/she alone cannot paddle the boat by themselves.
Next time you are out with your friends, ask yourself; how many of these friends were there to back me up when I needed them? With that in mind, start throwing your fake friends away. You won’t be needing them, and they won’t (really) miss you either. That’s the first step in living a positive life.