GREG'S BLOG How To Choose Happiness In Your Life

How to Stop Spending Time and Energy With People Who Drag You Down and Build Your Inner Circle



Partial Transcript:

“Take a good look at your friends, and you will see your future.”  Denis Waitley


The same holds true for you family.

I want to cover 3 ideas in this podcast:

1 Like it or not, You are influenced by your associates, period.

2 How to move away from negative people.

3 Build and protect your inner circle

This is such a critical principle.  I want to encourage you to share this podcast; people need to understand this principle.  For many, this is the main thing holding them back from soaring toward their potential.

So, who do you spend most of your time with?  The first reaction is usually to say family, but for most busy families, actual time together is very limited.

Who are you closest associates?

Many people might be surprised to find that they spend much of our time with musicians, celebrities, movie stars, authors, etc, who are influencing the outcome of our lives far more than they think, and often in ways that they wouldn’t choose if they were thinking clearly.

I’m even saddened by the flood of gurus, speakers, leaders who are poor examples and pathetic role models.  How ironic, seeing divorced ‘marriage coaches’, out of shape ‘health experts’, and neurotic psychologists or psychiatrists.

We are looking for answers from those who are failing in the most important areas of life.

You Are What, and Who You Surround Yourself With.

People become like those they are surrounded by. You fit into your neighborhood and family and friends.  You will likely earn about the average of your closest friends and associates. If you are always around your parents, siblings, friends, etc. expect to be like them.

Here’s where the conflict enters… you love your friends and family.  It’s usually a difficult moment when you have the realization, and make accompanying decisions, that although you love your family, you know that they either screwed up or they’re not going where you want to go, doing what you want to do or becoming who you want to become.

You are absolutely influenced by those you surround yourself with. You cannot stick your hand in water and not get wet. You cannot stick it in the mud and not get muddy. It is part of the deal.

We’re often surrounded by very poisonous people. You can’t be around without being influenced. Even good people are negatively influenced by negative people’s words and actions.  If you think you’re immune, you’re crazy. When you hear it over and over and over you might start questioning and listening. It leaves a taint on you; it negatively affects you. The constancy of what they’re saying and doing has an influence on you. Some people think they can hang out with people and not be affected. You will be affected. There is no getting around that. Who you associate with and what you hear them say absolutely will have an effect on you.

What about being Christlike?  He spent His time with publicans and sinners.  Wrong.  He spent His time with His inner circle, and together they would go minister to the people.

1 Cor 5:11  “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

Proverbs 14: 7 “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”

Parable of the sower. Matt 13:3-8  Be careful where you go, who you associate with, and where you plant your seeds.

Rom 16:17-18  “Mark them that cause divisions and offenses… and avoid them.”

Principle 25 in “Success Principles”  by Jack Canfield

Five Major Pieces of the Life Puzzle, by Jim Rohn

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

Earl Nightingale’s Lead The Field

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by Harv Eker 


Use the 80/20 principle with people around you.

Who are the 20 percent who give you 80 percent of your joy and happiness, who get you pumped up and focused on what matters most?

Who are the 20 percent who give you 80 percent of your headaches and negative feelings?

Use the principles of elimination and focus here.

At church or business or life, there are 20% who consume 80% of your time and effort.  Don’t allow that.  Choose instead the top 20% who will give you the most joy and success. 

When you are around Godless people, you gradually become Godless.  They do not keep the Sabbath day holy, and because you want to spend time with them and they want to spend time with you, they invite you to go do something that violates that sacred day and you go.  Those who live outside of God’s commandments obviously don’t hold them as standards to live by.  So when the situation arises, they will make choices based on their values, not His.  When you are with them, you will be invited, encouraged and enticed to do the same.

People who don’t go anywhere and don’t do anything get covered in moss.  If you get too close to them, the moss will rub off onto you and it stinks.  Be careful who you choose to be close to.

Because some of our friends, family, and circumstances can often act as crab buckets, it is valuable to get away from them to strengthen your formation.

We often have rats in the cellar that are “family rats”; they “run in the family” and live in the family cellar. Our family members, friends and habits can often encourage us to do things that we wouldn’t do, and often don’t want to do, but we are weak around certain situations and environments, around certain people.

It is often valuable to get a fresh start. To go somewhere new. It can be very healthy for a couple to separate themselves from both sets of their parents in order to strengthen the marriage, because they will only have each other.

I particularly love going to new countries and completely new places where there is no social conditioning upon me. It is a completely fresh start. There are no expectations of my behavior and no baggage or past. I arrive with a clean slate and nobody holds me to anything. I am free to be my best self, and it helps me to actually be my best self, to be better. Because I’m not held to any prior conditioning or lowered expectations. Whereas  often when we are around people we’ve always known, or who knew us before, they hold us in that place and we allow ourselves often to be held in a place.

Be very careful who you allow into your presence. one very poisonous person can ruin a lot of things.  Even if you are doing your best; even if many around you are doing their best, one very poisonous person can contaminate the waters and spoil so many good things.

Remove toxic people from your life.

I know this sounds a little harsh.  But successful people make hard decisions.  If you want greatness– real, true, genuine greatness– you have to leave the herd and climb the mountain.  I’m not talking about social classes or status.  I’m talking about true greatness.  I’ve traveled around the world and I’ve seen it in tiny shacks, and in majestic mansions, and all in between.  But I’ve also seen depravity and mediocrity in each of those places as well.  I’ve observed scoundrels in the slums, and in the elite, gated communities.

You’ve got to remove yourself from anyone that does not edify you.  That includes music, movies, books, and family.

 “Choose to align yourself with people who are like-minded in their search for simplified inspiration. Give those who find fault or who are confrontational a silent blessing and remove yourself from their energy as quickly as possible. Your life is simplified enormously when you don’t have… to defend yourself to anyone, and when you receive support rather than criticism.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer


If you want to change, start associating with different people.  If you want to stop drinking and smoking, stop hanging around those who do.  If you also want to start getting up early and reading, then stop going to the bars and start going to bed at a good hour.  Start spending time with people who take great care of their bodies and lives.  Hang around those who inspire you to become who you want to become!

Visualize pulling a glowing coal from the fire and what happens?  Or try to keep the fire going by surrounding it with damp, cold coals.

The Charcoal Burner and the Fuller

A CHARCOAL-BURNER carried on his trade in his own house. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and entreated him to come and live with him, saying that they should be far better neighbors and that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller replied, “The arrangement is impossible as far as I am concerned, for whatever I should whiten, you would immediately blacken again with your charcoal.”


I was working out in the Caribbean every day in the morning.  There were usually only a couple guys there in the mornings.  One day I went to work out in the afternoon.   When I walked in the music was on, the place was hopping this and there was a really big guy working out.    He had obviously paid a price to become very muscular.  His presence was very influential to everyone in the gym. It made me want to work out harder, push myself further, and stay focused and disciplined.   Part of the motivation is ego, but in a good way, by becoming excellent, he was inspiring others by his presence and his excellence.

When I do a triathlon, I want to be the best triathlete; when I play volleyball I want to be great at it.  The same things happens for me in martial arts, the weight room and musical performances.  I want to be better and more involved when I am there in the moment, surrounded by it.

Whatever and whoever you surround yourself with will have a huge influence on you.  If you hang around certain people, you’ll want to do what they do and be one of them.  That’s how we get really backward people doing things that they think are so great.  Their little group thinks it’s so cool so they don’t even realize that it’s completely socially retarded (and often self-destructive.)  I’m all about non-conformity and being unconventional; but it must be according to values, priorities and moving ahead of the unthinking herd.

Surround yourself with great individuals that are wealthy, healthy, wise, influential and spiritual.  This applies to neighborhoods, groups, friends, clubs, etc.  Same income, same activities, same education level, etc

Find the people who are living the life you desire to live, and associate with them.

Warning: Not the pseudo-life, not the phony, not the family that is barely living paycheck to paycheck in order to keep up with the Joneses, but the family that is really living a life on purpose, a life that matters; one that is prioritized and established on correct values, not silly social conditioning.

I want to be better at whatever it is that I’m doing, that I enjoy that I see others doing well. Whether triathlons, lifting, running, martial arts, reading, medicine, speaking, leadership, snowboarding, service, etc.  One of the keys to becoming great at something is to be around it frequently with others who are great at it.


Your inner circle WILL– not might, not maybe– WILL make or break you in business and in life.

 “Be friendly with everyone but very careful who you allow to be close to you.”

They will have a tremendous influence on you when you are at the crossroads of life or when you are in vulnerable or weak moments.  You likewise will have a great impact on them.  Choose and protect your inner circle very wisely.

It’s very difficult to become excellent in isolation.  Surround yourself with great people, some who are better than you at what you want to succeed in.

Find partners who will hold you accountable and keep you on your A game.  It’s hard to get up and go running in the rain and snow and cold, or when you just don’t feel like it.  Set an appointment to meet your success partners and hold each other accountable to excellence.

“Environment is everything. Surround yourself with passionate people doing the things you dream of, and magic starts to happen. There is no more powerful practice.”

Make some decisions today.  Write them down if you need to.

What kind of people are you going to begin removing from your life?

What kind of people are you going to begin bringing into your life?

Remember, you are in charge.  It’s your life!  You decide what it’s like and who you will become.  Do not sit back and play that victim.  Direct your life, don’t just accept it.

Please share how this principle has made a difference in your life.  Ask your questions.  Subscribe for more inspiration and motivation

Take action today.  Become your very best self, by surrounding yourself with the best people.



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