There’s a great quote from author Charlie “tremendous” Jones. “You are the same today that you are going to be five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read.” When I first heard this, I thought, “There’s no way that’s true. There are so many other factors.” After hearing it a few more times and reading Charlie’s Life is Tremendous book, I had to agree. I agree because I’m living proof.

Many moons ago, I made drastic changes in my life. I was unsatisfied with my negative relationships and felt like I wasn’t living life. I was just surviving. I looked five years down the road and didn’t see much change there either. Was this it? Was this as good as it’d get? Don’t think so. I wasn’t about to keep living an unfulfilled life by not pursuing my passions. This was my life!

It was time to funnel better input into my life. I made the decision to fade from negative people’s lives and gain new, fulfilling information. I joined a leadership development group, L.I.F.E., began associating with positive-minded people and picked up books that guided my growth. Not long after this decision, the funniest thing happened. I became happier! Just two changes; association and reading habits, began the transformation.


Your relationships
If you really want to grow personally and professionally, you may have to re-evaluate your relationships. Acquaintances, friends, colleagues, partners and family members can support or stifle your pursuit of a better life. Most will do it indirectly. My nephew-“in-law” recently decided to join the police force much to the dismay of many naysayers whom he called his friends. My supportive and loving niece encouraged him until he made the decision and took control of his destiny. It’s his passion, not his friends’. It’s his life, not his colleagues’.

Limiting your exposure to stifling people isn’t easy, but it is essential if you’re going to carry out your goals. They may be your childhood best friend, your boss or cousin. When you surround yourself with positive, supportive folks, you’ll find it easier to accomplish those goals you’ve put off. You’re now creating an encouraging, motivating and hopeful environment. Supportive environment = favorable future.

If you’re in situations where you can’t avoid toxic people, protecting your dream is of the utmost importance. Don’t allow someone to stomp all over your dream. Your dream is what makes you, you. It makes you tick, it makes you passionate and it makes you alive. Why in the world would you let someone take that from you? What’s my method for toxic naysayers? Either nod and smile, or literally walk away and pray they find something that allows them to feel purposeful in life.



Your books
Read any good books lately? Maybe it depends on your definition of ‘good’. Does your reading material bring you closer or further from your goal? Is it part of your growth or merely a distraction? Does it teach you or just entertain you? If you’re not where you envisioned in life, good books are key in guiding you down the right path. I’ll be honest. I’ve glanced at a few cat videos and flipped through fashion magazines. But since I don’t plan to make a life out of creating fashion for felines, they’re just distractions.

Be choosy in what you fill your head with. Books on your field of study, career path or personal growth are good places to start. Once you’re hooked on pursuing your purpose, nothing will get in your way. If your passion is truly your purpose, you’ll feel alive every minute you spend time on it. It won’t feel like a dreaded chore. It surely won’t make you feel guilty for wasting your time. You’ll smile because you’re taking one more step toward your ideal life.

These two simple techniques may seem difficult at first, but if you change the input flowing into your head and heart, you’ll be amazed at what comes out. You’ll notice those once unsupportive people are impressed with your new-found joy. And just maybe you’ll be an inspiration to them in pursuing their once-lost goals. One never knows until they try.


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