A group of my friends chose a date for a retreat weekend. All of us kept that date sacrosanct, except one. She cancelled at the last minute, saying she was under too much stress to leave home.
My reaction extended beyond disappointment. We had planned this retreat for months and I, for one, had worked hard to reschedule projects and relocate my husband so we could have a girls’ weekend to ourselves at my house. Others had also re-arranged plans so they could attend.
I felt my heart harden, and I knew I needed time away from her to gain perspective.
But we are disappointed and frustrated with friends, family, and team members all the time. Running away from the problem or holding in a negative attitude is not a productive answer.
Instead, if we are to nurture healthy relationships, we need to separate practices that are self-serving or the product of habit from those that lead to our growth and success. One approach is being hard-hearted; the other is using mental toughness.
Let’s look at 4 differences between the two:
1) Be Picky
Let’s face it: the less you associate with some people, the faster your life will improve.
You become like those with whom you associate—for the good and the bad. Plato once said, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”
Pick your friends with care—they create the environment in which you will either thrive or wilt. Give everyone the opportunity to be a friend, but share your dreams and goals only with those who value them as much as you do.
- Hard-hearted is choosing friends because of who they are;
- Mental toughness is choosing friends because of who you want to become.
2) Expect Change
As you grow, your attitude and beliefs will change. Some of your friends will want to grow with you, and those will be the ones who will stretch your vision and encourage you to continue. Others will not, and they may choke your dream.
You have different friends for different parts of your life. If you have moved into a phase of life where you’re determined to set your own course, find people who can help you visualize what that future can look like.
- Hard-hearted is leaving behind friends who have been loyal and supportive because you want to spend your time with movers and shakers;
- Mental toughness is sticking with friends who have always been a positive influence in your life.
3) Establish Benchmarks
Create standards for choosing friends – Ask yourself whether spending time with this person will lift you up or drag you down? Will spending time with this person help you to become your best self? Will you be happier after spending time with this person? Will this person help you achieve your most important goals? If not, find friends who will.
- Hard-hearted is basing friendships on who can open doors for you to accomplish your goals;
- Mental toughness is basing friendships on who help you learn how to open doors for yourself.
4) Establish Trust
List five people who can help you achieve your dreams and goals. These should be people whom you trust to listen to you attentively. Tell them about your dreams and goals. Sharing details of our life creates trust, and if you don’t feel you can trust a person with the most vulnerable part of yourself—your dream—find someone else for a friend.
- Hard-hearted is cutting a friend loose because you don’t want to make the time to listen or help;
- Mental toughness is cutting the strings when their baggage weighs you down.
Mental toughness is choosing excellence in all that you do. This includes the company you keep. Never make someone a priority when you are only an option to them.
In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends—John Churton Collins.
What criteria do you have for choosing the company you keep?
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