A Matter of Character(s)
There is a popular saying that I will paraphrase, that goes like this — hang out with the people you want to be like.
How about you hang out with the people you like?
I get the concept of hanging out with people you want to be like, or the concept of — you are the average of the 5 people who you hang out with. But to me it’s a tad selfish and this world needs a little less selfish and a little more empathy.
It’s reminds me of surveys about what people like about their jobs. At first glance, you probably think making lots of money is what one likes most about their job. But that is not even listed as a reason in any of the survey results I have seen. Reasons included: liking their coworkers, being recognized, feeling like they were making a difference or having a say.
So I find it perplexing how many people “like” the comment about hanging out with people you want to be like. Usually the context is to hang out with “successful” people. Normally people define success in a monetary fashion.
But then I always think this:
It is suggested that for one to become successful, they need to be around the successful. At the same time they are being told not to hang out with people that might “bring them down.” But taking your advice, if someone is successful, why would they give you the time of day? I mean, you look at the people around and say, you are not successful enough for me to be hanging out with you. Let me get better friends. So why would someone that is successful, want to hang with you or mentor you? Especially since your biggest concern is, well… you?
I would much rather have friends that stick with me through thick and thin, than were using me as a stepping stone.
The past year of Covid has made us all reflect a lot about what is most important in life. It was a year ago that I found myself writing this about myself and about having someone more successful than me, want to hang out with me. I think, what if the man that would become my husband never took a chance on someone like me. Where would I be today? When I first met him I was working a lot of overtime, living at home and making a ton of money. I started investing and was doing quite well financially. So in a way I would probably be equally or more “successful.” But I don’t know if I would be as tolerant, non judgmental, empathetic or accepting of people with differing opinions. He taught me volumes by coming down to my level, and lifting me up to his. I like to think I have been paying that forward in my later years.
So what it comes down to is this. Do you want to be self-ish, or self-less. Just a few difference in characters, but a world of difference in character. Are you going to abandon your friends to chase a more popular or successful person in hopes that they let you ride their coattails. Or are you going to walk alongside your friends, and help each other get to where you both want to be?