A True Friend

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True Friend TagIf you have kids or ever were a kid, you know how concerned parents are with what kind of friends their children have.

Why?

Well, obviously it’s because kids tend to take on the behavior of their friends. If your child’s friends are constantly getting into trouble, then your child will likely follow suit.

This principle is almost universally known to be true. So why do so many of us recognize its truth in our kids’ lives, but completely ignore it in our own? Is there a certain age at which this principle ceases to ring true? Twenty-one? Thirty? Forty?

You know the answer—no, this principle never ceases to be true, no matter how sure of our views, our habits, and ourselves we may be. If you spend your time around people who are not like the kind of person you want to be, it’s going to be awfully hard to become the person you want to be.

This is very interesting to me, so I’ll often ask people,

“What’s the definition of a true friend to you?”

At least half of the time, I hear something along the lines of,

“A true friend is someone who accepts me as I am.”

I want you to stop and think about that for a moment (especially if you nodded your head in agreement). Is that really what we want out of our true friends? The people with whom we will share things and experiences that we wouldn’t share with anyone else?

Here is something important to realize: someone who merely accepts you no matter what only accepts you because they don’t truly care about you.

Think about it—when you really care about someone, do you want average results for them? No! You want the best life has to offer for them, so you hold them to the best possible standards.

True friends are not supposed to be “yes” men. Sure, they are there to cheer you on and celebrate with you at appropriate times, but they are also there to tell you when you’re acting like a jerk. Why? Because they care enough to tell you when you’re exhibiting behavior that isn’t going to move you forward in life.

One of the Seven Decisions in The Traveler’s Gift is “I will seek wisdom.” It’s an extremely crucial principle to incorporate into your life, so people often ask me the best way to go about doing so.

It’s actually a very simple process because there are only two things you need to do:

  1. Read.
  2. Seek the company of people who are already successful in areas in which you want to be successful.

Here’s a hint—people who “accept you as you are” will never fall into that second category. An extremely talented golfer is not going to want to golf with a novice who has no desire to improve. But another novice who has no desire to improve will.

However, you’d be surprised by the number of extremely talented people who are willing to take the time to help someone who is eager to learn and improve. And I’m not just talking about golfers. I’m talking about extremely talented husbands and wives, extremely talented businessmen, extremely talented moms and dads…the list goes on and on.

Do you have a desire to improve certain areas of your life? Are you ready, willing, and able to learn, work hard, and grow?

If so, it’s time to stop looking for friends who accept you as you are…and start looking for the ones who accept nothing less than the best you can be.


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