Regardless of the American ideologies of the self-made man or the independent woman —of which one could argue don’t really exist—in actuality, we are extremely dependent creations. We need each other.
We have been wired for relationship.
But here’s the thing: not all community, relationships, friendships, or social networks are equal. Not all of them have the same impact. In fact, some actually bring more harm than good.
As parents, we often worry about our children being corrupted by the wrong influences, yet as adults, we are too often not intentional enough—or perhaps not intentional at all— about choosing our relationships.
In ancient Scripture, King Solomon, the wisest man in the world at that time, wrote: “He who walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Moosa Rahat said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
But how do we choose our friends? And in what ways will these decisions affect our lives?
In this article, I’m going to show you seven ways that your friendships are shaping everything about your future and how to use that in your favor.
First up? Your mindset and beliefs. Let’s go.
Whether you see life as a world of possibilities or a world of limitations is largely
dependent on your friends. In my opinion, there are two general types of friends, and they fall into two categories:
This means that they can either enclose your world with doubt or they can lift it with faith.
But in order to have friends who are lid-lifters, you’ve got to choose to put yourself in environments where lid-lifters mingle.
One of my favorite examples is my friends Chris and Lori Harder. These two live with a strong sense of abundance, joy and generosity. While I’ve always considered myself to be joyful, generous and abundant, they have challenged me to live at a higher level in all of these things.
Chris helped me shift my whole wiring and energy around certain hangups I had about what I thought were limitations of mine. And likewise, I was able to help him expand the possibilities of how he could use his business and talent to gain equity in various different ventures. That’s the power of lid lifting.
Here’s the thing about lid-lifters like Chris and Lori Harder. They tend to associate with other lid-lifters.
My wife and I have become extremely intentional about going to events and being in groups where people have huge mindsets—otherwise, we would never get to know and build relationships with the lid-lifters we desire to surround ourselves with.
The second area your friends determine your future is in the way you love.
Ask yourself the following questions:
If you have friends who are always fighting in their marriages, it’s easy to start picking up those conversational patterns and start looking for the wrong in your partner. But if your friends are constantly growing in their marriages and speaking lovingly about each other and to each other, doesn’t that inspire you to desire that same type relationship with the person you love?
One of our model love relationships is that of our friends Jon and Missy Butcher. They’ve built an amazing program, Life Book, all about designing your life around 12 key categories. However, not only do they have a great business, but more importantly, they have an amazing marriage. The honor, respect and adoration they have for each other is a beautiful thing to behold, even after decades of marriage.
When we were thinking about where we wanted to get married, my best man, Matt Grimes, told me, “If you get married in your hometown, people from your past will come, but if you do a destination wedding, people from your future will come.”
Those wise words led to us having an incredible and memorable wedding experience in Florence, Italy with sixty of our closest friends and family.
If you become intentional to build friendships with people who know how to love well, you’re making one of the wisest decisions in your life—a decision that will undoubtedly directly affect your happiness.
Like it or not, as human beings we are sponges. Our purpose is heavily affected by our friendships. Our friendships determine whether on not we live with much purpose, what type of purpose that is, what type of clarity we have in our lives and what type of support we have for the lives we choose.
Our friendships determine whether or not we will achieve the goals we set, whether or not we will linger in the shadows of what we could have been, and whether we will be bold enough to step out and pursue it.
Your true friends will be willing to have tough conversations with you. They will open up new doors. They will challenge you…if only by the way that they live.
If you are choosing to live on purpose and your friends are not (or vice versa) they will feel uncomfortable. The person not living on purpose will begin to feel uncomfortable and will either have to step up to own their own destiny, or, out of necessity, will have to distance themselves.
Believe it or not, your level of health (and your chances of staying healthy) is directly correlated to how healthy your friends are.
Now, I’m certainly not saying that you cannot have high-quality friendships with amazing people who aren’t bodybuilding and eating raw foods every day. I’m not stating that your friends should never have serious health issues. I’m not even saying that all of your friends should be significantly health-conscious. We’re human and this is planet earth. Things are definitely imperfect, if you haven’t noticed.
This is what I am saying—take a look at the numbers.
Take a look at your friends and ask yourself the following questions.
As you can probably imagine, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to put on that six-pack and stick to your workout routine/diet routine while being surrounded with those kinds of friends all the time.
My wife and I are fortunate to have world class health specialists among our friend group; professionals such as chiropractors, fitness experts, nutritionists, naturopathic and medical doctors. So guess what? We eat healthy and prioritize our fitness.
Your worldview and your experience of what your family will become is highly determined by your friend group.
To use Jon and Missy Butcher as an example, these amazing humans have travelled all over the world with their kids. They don’t view their children as a hindrance to living a life full of adventure and fulfillment, but rather as a welcome addition. When a lot of people were saying, “Once you have kids you can’t travel,” the Butchers realized that their best moments and learning experiences for their kids were traveling, discovering new worlds, and learning about new cultures.
The Butchers also travel with friends who support this idea. Was this intentional? As with most things in their lives, absolutely. If they continued to have a tribe of people telling them that traveling with kids is silly—it would be quite difficult to keep up that lifestyle.
Our dear friends, Tom and Emily Davis, are another couple who do this very well. We had the amazing opportunity to stay with them for several weeks in Barcelona and experience Spanish life with them, all while observing the incredibly thoughtful way they are raising their teenagers.
For us, this was intentional.
Just like with Jon and Missy, we want to raise multi-cultural, socially-adept children who are educated in global history, art, science and business. Being around friends who are already doing this with their kids puts us a huge step closer to making this a reality in our own family.
How comfortable are your friends talking about money and building wealth?
The poorer your friends are, the less likely they are going to be talking about money.
Take the middle class, for example. I grew up middle class and I was taught that it was unacceptable to ask people about how much money they make.
One of my favorite stories about this is when Tai Lopez was out to dinner with Steve Balmer, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and one of the early co-founders of Microsoft. Steve, a multibillionaire, turns to Tai, a multimillionaire, and asks, “So how much money do you make at this internet entrepreneur thing?” It was only their first dinner together, but for Steve, it was no big deal to ask such a question. People at high-earning levels are much more open about money.
When we associate money and wealth with real people in the real world, we naturally associate those things with the people we know—our friends. As a result, our friends determine how abundant we are or how abundant we are not.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a life that works for you? This is the greatest power of the relationships you choose. Your friendships are bringing you—on the daily—closer to your future.
Each of these things together form what I like to call circular velocity—otherwise known as your environment. Your total relational and social environment is like the tide for a ship in a harbor. As that tide rises, so do all the boats in the harbor. It’s inevitable. They can not resist rising.
The same goes for each of us. If our relational circles are healthy, dynamic and vibrant in all the key areas of life, finances, mindset and emotions, we can’t help but elevate our entire lives. And as these tides rise, so will we.