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?