“Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays, it insists on it.” Russell Baker
“You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.” Jim Rohn
“Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages, it is the
rule.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Morning, all! Ruthy here, welcoming back our conference attendees, buddies, friends, fellow Seekers, et al! We've got a great buffet breakfast lined up for you guys and I brewed a fresh pot of joe...
Grab a mug. There's flavored creamer to your right and food to your left. Every table is stocked with a loaves-and-fishes bowl of M&M peanut candies. Yup, you got it: bottomless! Talk about comfort food! Sit back and relax because today we're going to chat it up about influencers and I don't mean the kind who post kindly reviews on B&N or pass a new novel around, drumming up new readers.
This kind of influencer, good or bad, is all up to us, the writer.
Modern day writers and publishers make a fortune off books homilizing a positive attitude. Head to your local Barnes and Noble, Borders, or the public library. Each one of these devotes precious end-cap or display table space to this sought after information, plus an individual shelving section designated for the same purpose.
Scan Amazon.com and gaze upon the proliferation of morale building, self-help volumes abounding there, geared to help us be a more positive, productive, uplifted, goal-seeking, outcome-oriented person.
Now I'm not going to lecture about this growing trend. Sheesh. We'd need a host of blogs just to skim the surface of why people who live in the greatest country on earth, rife with freedom and opportunity, can't make themselves happy. We'll just save that little ditty for another day.
Jim Rohn's website deals with the topic for free, my favorite price tag. A click of the mouse and you’re in, ready to absorb words of wisdom from one of America’s most renowned business philosophers. With over fifty-seven years in broadcasting, motivational speaking, writing, and recording, Rohn has seen it all and addresses the topic of negativity point blank.
Avoid it at all costs.
Rohn’s pretty direct about the whole issue, and the man breeds success like Anheuser-Busch breeds Clydesdales. Big and strong, with perfect deportment. (I can't mention Clydesdales without remembering Superbowl commercials... The one with Hank, the rejected horse who worked with unwavering persistence to make the team, guided by the "Pauly" Dalmation, while the theme from Rocky plays in the background??? Oh my stars, I'm tearing up just thinking about it!
Or the donkey who tried hair extensions because he wanted to be a Clydesdale???? Oy vay, pass the tissues, I'm all ver klempt here!)
You’re a writer, at a specific point in your career. This varies depending on your work, motivation, time spent, etc., but the fact is, you’re moving toward something at a pace of your choosing.
Who do you hang with? Who are your associates? Your partners, critiquers, friends and cohorts. Are they a positive influence? Do they pretend to be a positive influence, even as they drag you into the depths of despair? Whose fault is that?
You know that answer as well as I do. We allow others to influence our lives by allowing them a portion of our lives. Rohn puts it this way: “Some people you can afford to spend a few minutes with, but not a few hours.”
Pretty succinct. We pick and choose a portion of the effect on our lives, our careers and our writing by the company we keep. Positive or negative, strong or weak, accepting or complaining, we make choices without always considering the level of influence that association allows.
You want to be good at what you do? Avoid the “misery loves company” set. You want to be the best you can be? Steer clear of those who settle for mediocrity. Do you have goals and aspirations whose glow illuminates the end of the tunnel? A tunnel can seem pretty long and dark when traveled with low expectations.
Rohn says: “Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”
Limiting negative exposure time may seem simplistic, but it’s a huge step toward being the more assertive, positive, successful writer you want to be. Success threatens some people. Unfortunately, there are those who find great comfort in limiting your success to their levels. What’s up with that? Not kosher. Definitely not something a true friend would do, but that takes us back to the whole misery loves company theory. Your success may reflect their lack. That’s a bitter pill for some to swallow.
Your achievements as a person, daughter, husband, wife, father, sister, writer, Christian, homemaker, lawyer, nurse, midwife, teacher, accountant, etc. depend on you. They are not guided by luck or circumstance. You are the captain of your ship. The tack you take is yours to decide. Fill your sails with wind and dare the open sea, or drift aimlessly. So much of what we choose is guided in small but steady ways by the company we keep. The influences we allow in our lives.
Have you noticed when a person wants to help a struggling marriage, they seek the wisdom and guidance of those who are successfully married? When that same person wants to end a marriage, they seek the discontented, those whose marriages have failed. We seek our ends by the choices we make, large and small. Want success? Surround yourself with those willing to work for it. Rohn contends: “Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”
If we waste time on the shallow voices in our lives, we tune out the valuable ones, those that challenge us to do our best. Rohn advises us to seek out and be around those who have something of value to share. He believes that influence can be both powerful and subtle. “…You wouldn’t let someone push you off course, but you might let someone nudge you off course and not even realize it.”
Oh, yeah. Most of us can see that all around us. The subtle, invasive negatives we allow into our lives. Avoid them. Limit them. They are a downfall.
Helen Keller said: “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” Prophetic words of wisdom from a woman who overcame adversity that would boggle the mind of the sighted, hearing community. I couldn’t agree more.
Seek success. It won’t just find you. Choose your associates with careful decision. Above all, challenge yourself to rise above, be the best you can be. It’s the least you can do with the marvelous gift of life you’ve been given, no strings attached. Show your gratitude with your growth and heightened expectations. Your shining light can help others ‘see’ the way.
Candles are popular right now. They come tall and short, thin and wide, scented or non. Some clever person even thought to fashion them in jars. Pretty savvy! A jarred candle has a built-in holder, no dripping wax, a wick that burns bright and a cover to smother the flame…
Which are you? The wick or the cover?
I thought so. Examine your work relationships. Make them all they can be. Let your light shine, even if you have to trim your ‘wick’ or polish your ‘jar’ by adjusting work schedules and relationships. Seek the strength and favor of positive people. Aim high, and don’t let anyone suck the wind from your sails. If you do, whose fault is it?
(Inserting motherly arched brow and look of patient understanding here…)