Growing up, I never gave much thought to my value system or the value systems of friends I spent time with. Looking back, I think if I had, it may have saved me a lot of grief. However, hindsight is nearly perfect and I’ve learned the importance of connecting with like-minded souls. Think about it – how much better does your life flow when you are laughing, working, and playing with someone who shares your goals and interests? How do you feel after spending time with someone who disagrees with everything you believe in or belittles all of your accomplishments? Not so good; maybe even depressed or angry enough to throw things. Connecting with people who support, nurture, and appreciate your unique gifts and who inspire you to feel the same towards them feels entirely different, yes?
You can’t choose your family growing up, but you are free to choose your friends, potential mate(s), and if you’re fortunate, co-workers. I witness many people miserable and complaining because they are ‘stuck’ with a spouse who does not share in their value system. We see this all around us – individuals who choose a mate who smokes when they do not, who is a couch potato to their marathon lifestyle, who is carnivorous to their veganism. I’m not promoting a less tolerant approach to the world, but taking part in the things you love to do with others who share the same passion certainly brings more happiness, peace of mind, and positive reinforcement to your own achievements.
My fascination with murder mysteries and the psychology of what drives people to make poor choices puts a spotlight on values. Quite often it boils down to surrounding yourself with people that maintain clear value systems – perhaps values like a reverence for life or a clear understanding that stealing from others is not cool! Nothing fascinates me more than watching someone make horrific mistakes, and how they were caught, or proven guilty. Not because I enjoy watching the misfortune of others, but because it becomes clear how many of these people may have avoided a lifetime prison sentence by surrounding themselves with people who had better judgment and values. Yes, everyone has personal responsibility, but sometimes those who are lost simply need a little guidance in the right direction in order to avoid catastrophic life decisions. Over and over again, I’ve watched people being convinced, manipulated, or talked into doing things they never could have imagined by befriending the wrong person or groups.
It becomes clear when you view the actions of those around you and review your past mistakes. You may see where you adopted similar habits and beliefs that are not true to you. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire, support, or encourage you along your life path may make the difference between failure and success in many areas of your life. Olympic medalists and successful entrepreneurs often did not reach their goals without the love, support, and hard work of those around them. Become aware of your own values and what is most important to you, from optimal health to ethical business success. Choose your friends, co-workers, and life mates wisely. It may help avoid a long term jail sentence!