Someone once sat in my office explaining that they just didn’t think they could continue being friends with someone. “They are such an Eeyore.” When they said that, I knew exactly what they meant.
Eeyore is a character in “Winnie the Pooh” who is consistently full of doom and gloom. Rarely (if ever) is he upbeat, positive, and full of energy. (Forgive me if you are an Eeyore fan). And we’ve all met people like that, right? I don’t mean just someone having a bad day or even a bad season in life. I mean someone who regardless of WHAT the circumstances are – the cup is always half empty and the world around is full of doom and gloom.
After awhile, being around those folks begins to wear on even the most energy-filled optimist.
Who we are around, the people we spend our time and energy with largely determines our outlook on life and our thoughts.
Often times we equate maximizing our happiness with temporal things – the stuff we have, experiences we live, and our personal philosophies. But what if there is more?
Neuroscientist Moran Cerf reveals that maximizing our happiness actually is determined largely by who we spend time with.
“Personal company is the most important factor for long-term satisfaction,” Cerf states.
His research shows that when two people are in one another’s company, their brain waves actually begin to look almost identical. Just being next to certain people actually aligns our brain with theirs. Therefore, the people we hang out with actually have an impact on our engagement with reality beyond what we can explain. One of the effects is you become alike.
Cerf’s conclusion is that if we want to maximize happiness and minimize our stress, we should surround ourselves with people who embody the traits we prefer. Over time, we will naturally pick up those desirable attitudes and behaviors.
A wise mentor taught me years ago that my biggest asset is also my biggest vice. Because of my intense, deep passion, I can go from 0 – 2000 in a nanosecond. That’s a great asset when I am preaching and trying to convince a group of people to follow a mission/vision. It is my biggest vice when something hits a nerve and my temper flares. Or I’m nervous about something that feels beyond my ability.
I’ve found that the closest people in my life bring a levity and groundedness that I desperately need. They “calm” me and it allows my asset/vice to balance each other and enables my effectiveness as a leader.
Who we surround ourselves with matters.
And it is ok to use good judgment when making those decisions.
In fact, we are called to do so.
Let’s think through the people in our lives today.
Do they lift us up? Help us be our best selves?
What guardrails do we need to use in this part of our lives today?
Grace and Peace,