I think it is common knowledge that the way we think has a tremendous impact on the way we feel and the results we produce.

Countless books and papers have been written about «positive thinking» and I don’t want to add to them with my own thoughts. What I want to do is to question an advice which is given by so many personal development trainers and coaches.

The instruction I am talking about is:

Get rid of negative people

When this advice first was given to me I looked at it exactly the way the teacher wanted me to look at. What he was telling me was that I had people in my environment which did not support my dreams and endeavors. Some of them questioned my sanity while others explained to me in detail all the risks and problems that I would most probably have to deal with.

I understood that it was not helpful to get feedback from people who never did what I planned to do. The only thing they could do was to discourage me. Not because they wanted to hurt me but because they were afraid of trying something like that themselves.

There’s another saying around in the personal development space which was made popular by Jim Rohn. He said:

You are the average of the five people you spend most time with

As much as I would like to agree with Jim Rohn I have to say that is is not necessarily true. I have many examples in my own life who proof this statement wrong. If you lack having your own goals and direction it can easily happen that you pick up someone else’s goals. In such a case you might choose the people around you as your ideals or role models, but if you have clear goals and a way to get there, you will only be mildly influenced by people who don’t share these goals. And while pursuing your goals you might find yourself spending more and more time with people who are supportive and less time with your old gang.

What I can agree with is another statement which says:

Environment is stronger than will

Life is an energy game and your environment always has more energy than you do. So be careful when you pick your environment and check on a regular basis, whether you get what you planned to get and if not, find out why.

Let’s get back to negative people:
what’s wrong with them?

What I learned over all these years working on myself is, that we can only see flaws in others that we still have within ourselves. Other people are just a mirror, showing us what character traits we have to work on, what weaknesses we have to overcome or what skill we have to learn.

Denying the fact that we have certain flaws makes it impossible to change them. Only if we can accept a weakness as a task, we have access to the needed energy to change ourselves.

“I must get rid of the negative people in my life” should translate into “I have found traits in me which need to be changed and I am grateful that the people around me let me know about this”. Running away is not the solution. Facing the problem ist the first step to make a change.

Taking responsibility is not easy. But if you look closer at the sentence: I am responsible. This means in other words: I am able to respond. I am not longer bound to habitual reactions. I can choose how I will react in this situation.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is not only a great spiritual advice. It also a great logical advice. If you have a difficult situation with someone and you realize that they just can’t understand what you want to explain to them, that they operate at a total different level of consciousness, the only thing you can do, is to remain calm and happy and to love them unconditionally.

If you learn how to do that, I guarantee you, you will have reached a level of fulfillment in your life which is unmatched. You will see that there’s no such thing a negative people. You will be able to see the good in everyone and by doing this, you enable them to bring forth the best in themselves.


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Erhard Ruettimann is Peak Performance Coach│Neurostrategist │iMA Practitioner│Public Speaker│Strategic Advisor│Opinion Leader│ Technology Expert│Quality Maniac│Lifelong Learner

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