There is a piece of folk wisdom that says we are known by the company we keep. Another aspect of that is that we tend to be influenced by the people we associate with. Some of these associations seem to come with little or no choice on our part. As children, we cannot control the family we are a part of, the other children in our neighborhood and/or school. As adults, we sometimes find ourselves in work environments we do not choose. While it might seem that who we associate with is something beyond our control, I suggest there is a difference between those people we spend time with in a controlled setting like school or work and the people we associate with in voluntary relationships.
History is filled with the accounts of people who overcame limitations stemming from circumstances of background and accomplished extraordinary things. Although the reasons for these people’s success varies, a common factor seems to be the introduction of possibility thinking into their life experience.
I have always been a person who is able to see the possibilities in my life and the lives of others. For this reason, I’ll admit this way of thinking comes easily and naturally to me. I am always surprised when someone chooses to approach a decision in a different way. What this means is that if you talk with me about something you are considering, I am much more likely to ask ”Why not,” than “Why.”
As you think about the people you associate with, are there more people who ask you “why” or “why not.” I listen to the “why” people in my life to see if any of their objections raise valid reasons I should not consider doing something. I find in my life there are always more than enough “why” people, people who have never done what I am considering. In fact, I often ask myself what these people have done that gives them credibility in evaluating what I am considering doing.
I am looking for the “why not” people who will listen to an idea and encourage it. I seem to never have too many of these people in my life. They tend to be the people who are off pursuing their own dreams, while encouraging me and others to pursue ours.
“Why” people tend to be critical of others. The function of criticism is to get you to change your behavior so I will feel better. Critical people-”why” people -seem to want to bring everyone around them down to their level so everyone can be as unhappy as they are. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to live my life.
“Why not” people realize that not every dream becomes a reality. Because they are focused on achieving and the success of others, they are able to quickly move ahead to find a better, more realistic dream if the current one doesn’t accomplish all it was supposed to.
As we move forward, I urge you to find “why not” people to encourage you and your dreams. These people will lift you up–not drag you down. I would like for us to be “why not” people to one another. Dream big–why not!!
We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.