If you’ve been visiting The Soap Box for a while, or maybe you’re just very observant, you’ve noticed that it’s not necessarily that I get on my soap box in one post but I get on my soap box and stay on over several posts! I write about the same things more than once. So, The Soap Box isn’t just just a collection of mini soap boxes, but one ginormous soap box that never ends. And for you English & grammar geeks like me, here’s a cool piece of information: ginormous IS a word now as it can be found in the dictionary now. I heard that on the radio in 2007, so I figured that’s when it was added (along with the word “crunk” which was incorrectly defined), but now that I look for the evidence to back it up I cannot firmly state when exactly that was. Anyway…that was very random and has nothing to do with Association LOL.
ASSOCIATION!! 🙂 In an abstract kind of way, I think this idea continues the last two posts. I don’t think people realize the power of association. It’s been said that you are where you are in life because of the books you read, who you hang around, and what you do in your spare time. I believe it! I’ve seen this play out very nicely in my own life, and I can also see people’s lives can turn out negatively because of the lack of books, who they hang around, and what they do in their spare time. I’ve never been one to hang with the wrong crowd, so I’ve never been negatively affected by the people I hang around. However, although the people I’ve hung around with weren’t bad people at all, I can see how maybe my thoughts, worldview, and view of myself could have been elevated had I been in different circles. But like I said…they were great people though! I heard once that you are the average of your associations. I believe this as well, and you can apply this to every area of life. For example, take all of the people in your inner circle, add up their incomes, and your incomes will probably be plus or minus a couple thousand of the average. If you make significantly more than anyone else in your circle, then you probably (and of course this isn’t indefinite) will not make much more above that. Look at all the relationships in your inner circle. Does yours look similar? Look at the homes of everyone in your circle. Is yours about the average? If you can say yes, then I’m sure you see how increase the level of association will increase your well-being. If you are the sharpest person, most successful, and most emotionally/financially/etc. stable person in your circle, then you are associating at a lower level, and everyone else in your circle is pulling on and drawing on you which is not healthy. So, although I’ve always had a good inner circle, I didn’t notice an increase in my self-image, income, etc. until I started associating with people at a significantly higher level than myself. It’s not that these people make more money than me (although a lot of them do), or they’re nicer than I am or are better than me–although a lot of them are–it’s that they are [in life] where I want to be mentally, socially, spiritually, etc. We all read the same books which are mentally, socially, spiritually, etc. stimulating…not a bunch of junk that just clutters your brain and do not do anything to enhance your life. We all associate at our level and above, so we’re all constantly being uplifted and stretched. This group of people just so happens to be my business team, so in our spare time we are creating additional streams of income. What a way to use your spare time!
Continuing in the vein of your situation [for the most part] being a choice, another element to this choice is your associations. Even if your situation is something that you totally cannot control, your associations are TOTALLY under your control. YOU control who your friends are and who you hang around. You control what books you read. YOU control what you do in your spare time. These are choices that only you can make for yourself. If you look over your life and are not satisfied, then check out these three areas of life and see where some adjustments can be made. If all you read are sleezy romance novels, pop-culture mags that are only good for gossip purposes, etc., then maybe you should put those down for a time and pick up some positive books (ex. The Magic of Thinking Big). If you spend a lot of time watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Net (GUILTY!! lol), then perhaps you need to pick up and habit/hobby/project that is productive, inspiring, heck…maybe even make you some money! Time is the most precious thing we have, and the only thing that we can never get back so use it wisely and do not waste it–and I’m saying that to myself!! I’m not even gonna touch on friends and associates because you know in your heart of hearts if the folks you hang around are building you up or tearing you down. You may not want to admit it, but you know. That’s another one of those choices. I hate it when I hear gang members talking about they don’t have a choice as to whether or not they want to be in that gang. WHAT?! Ok, I’m going there today.
So, as we bring this “series” to a close (I think), let’s recap. Everything in life is a choice. Don’t make excuses for the choices YOU made because you made them. Don’t ask for pity for the choices you made. You are where you are because mostly you want to be because you made the choices to get there…for the most part. You have the right to choose what direction your life goes in, so choose to be you and not what society or anyone else thinks you should be. Someone’s status on Facebook said something like “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Finally, one choice that you have total control over is your associations. So read good books, hang with folks that stretch you, and do something worthwhile in your spare time. You will be amazed at the results you’ll get!