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Happiness Leads to Success: “Take out the Trash” And Ensure Yours

by MJ DeMarco · 14 comments

What is seen, cannot be unseen, and sometimes, you have to know when that works to your favor.

Anytime you build a relationship with someone, you essentially take the passenger seat of their car.

If they’re reckless, your life can get equally reckless.  People, and the relationships we build with them, are like winding roads; they can take you in spectacular new directions or perilous detours.

The detours are hazardous to your success, to your health, and to your happiness.

A perfect example occurred when I was a teenager.

I had a friend named Dave.  I appreciated Dave’s friendship because he was strong, aggressive and confident while seemingly immune to what anyone said about him.  It was a quality I admired.

But I soon learned that Dave was a dangerous friend and my continued “passage” in his car would be a dangerous cocktail to my life.

You see, one day I went to Dave’s house and Dave’s real self became visible.  Dave’s mother wanted him to take out the garbage to which he retorted “F*ck you, you d*ckless woman!” (Yes, I kid you not!!)

I was shocked.

My mouth fell to the floor.

Dave’s mother’s response was equally shocking — she absorbed the disrespect, did nothing, and reiterated the demand.

Later, Dave and I were playing in the backyard which neighbored a large grassy meadow.  In the meadow, Dave captured a mouse and tossed it into a coffee can.  Then, he walked over to a pile of dead brush, lit it on fire, and tossed the mouse into the fire.  He laughed and cajoled in utter amusement as the mouse scampered about helplessly and burned to death.

I stood there mortified.  Thirty years later and this scene is still burned into my head like it just happened weeks ago.

At that moment, I knew I never wanted to see Dave again and my admiration turned into trembling fear.   Hiding my terror, I non-nonchalantly said “that’s not cool” and told him that I had to go home and do homework.

After I returned home, I told my mother.  Although I already decided that I didn’t want to see Dave again, she followed up my own decision with her own forbidding as well.  “No more Dave on the bus, after school, or anywhere else!” While I continued to see Dave in the school hallways, I was successful in avoiding Dave and he faded from my life …. until about 6 years later…

The entire City of Chicago would soon meet Dave in murderous infamy: Headline news reported that Dave unloaded a gun on a police officer after a high speed chase.  I also learned that he had a “passenger” in his car during the whole incident.  Dave, was later tried for murder as an adult, and convicted. 

He is spending the rest of his life in prison.

And what about his passenger?  Was he a willing or unwilling participant?  Regardless of the passenger’s intent, you can bet that his life from that moment became instantly skewed to the negative.

I wonder… had I not made the choice years earlier to abandon this friendship, could Dave’s passenger have been me? If so, I doubt my life would be the same.

The fact is, everyday we make decisions, not just “action” decisions, but relationship decisions.  Who is in your life WHO SHOULD NOT BE in your life?  Who is NOT in your life that NEEDS TO BE?

You see, people are like currents on a river; when you saddle up in a relationship, their currents and tradewinds can drag you wherever they go.  Some currents lead to favorable destinations and circumstances, while others are not so rosy.

A lot of people like to talk about wealth and financial freedom but fail at many of the things that make financial freedom impossible.  Poor choices make poor people.  If you’re chained to bad relationships and the poor circumstances they produce, can you ever expect to succeed at anything?  Countless psychological studies have proven that happiness leads to success — success doesn’t lead to happiness!

Examine your relationships choices.  Is it time you take out the trash?  Or worse, are you the trash that someone else has to take out?

Think about it.

Have you trashed any friends in your past where today, you can safely predict saved you from a personal tragedy?

~ MJ



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  • Asher2233

    Fantastic Article, and very well written/said.  Can I re post this everywhere?  I feel everyone should read it!

    • MJ DeMarco

      Absolutely. Share all you want.

      • Jakehyten

        Mj, when you were building your limo website were you actively networking on a fairly large scale or did you do it without making or using too many connections?

        • MJ DeMarco

          I was extremely responsive to customers.  But in general, I’m not the networking type so no, I wasn’t. 

  • Jamespark232323

    I can really relate to this. A friend of mine killed someone with 2 other people years after knowing him through middle and high school, we weren’t friends anymore because I couldn’t stand to be around him cause of how he acted (he would usually trying to offend me when we hung out) this was around the time we both did a lot of drugs together. I cleaned up he didn’t, shocked me to hear what he did. To this day it makes  me wonder what would have happened if I hung around him. Thanks for the post it really struck a chord with me.

  • Ashley

    I recently ended a 15 year relationship with a business partner. I knew he was a crazy, nothing as horrible as murder but a complete narcissist, but I found him entertaining, until recently when a project went horribly sideways. But I really have no one to blame but myself since I knew what he was like before we started working on this most recent project. Live and learn.

    • MJ DeMarco

      Great that you took responsibility, once we do that, it is easier to move on and move ahead!  Thanks for stopping by. =)

  • Annoymous

    Great story.  “birds of th feather flock together.” Someone once said that “if you look at three of your closest friend, that is basically your future.”  Reaching ones goal is extremely difficult but to have a negative person in your life can not only stop you from obtaining that goal, but it can  ruin ones life. I had to unload a couple of relationships in my life, friends, family members etc. Not that I don’t love them but they just were not good for me. What they wanted for me was not the same as I wanted for myself. It does take courage to say “no.” It takes courage not to confirm.  great article Mj. What you are doing is going to change millions upon millions of lives. 

  • Guest

    I’m self-publishing an e-book that I hope to have printed on CreateSpace.

    It’s really for a younger cousin who’s on the verge of losing his way completely, but I hope it will be useful to other young black boys whose grades seem to drop precipitously right as soon as they turn 13 or 14, and they start acting out things their families are ashamed of.

    I saw this phenomenon a couple of times as a Youth Leader and Sunday School teacher, but now it’s hitting close to home. I would really like to include this blog post with whatever attribution is needed.

    Would that be possible? What do I have to do?

    Unbelievable story. Thanks for sharing.

    • MJ DeMarco

      Yes it is possible — if you repost/reprint, just give proper attribution for the story to me and the website.  That is all, no other special permission needed. Hope it helps.  =)

  • IM

    Thanks for sharing MJ.  If a person doesn’t have the brass to weed out the toxic people in their life, they don’t have what it takes IMHO.

  • anonymous

    I had to trash a friend last year, it was the biggest weight off my shoulders!

  • doh007

    Hey MJ … great stuff and very much in the line of the “you are the average of the people you are with most of the time”. But here exactly lies a problem… how can you “stop” interacting with these folks if they are a must part of your daily professional life? Ex. work colleagues? (i know, no J.O.B., but I’m not there yet) :)

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