Wednesday 11 December 2019

Who is sitting on 'Your' bus?

I love to study human behaviour. You can learn so much from just observation. Yesterday, based on a brief non-verbal interaction, I formed a warm opinion of two septuagenarians. Driving down the main street of my hometown there was a backup in traffic, so I beckoned the two pedestrians to cross safely in front of me.

As they passed my windscreen the elderly man gave me a hearty wave of thanks. A warm smile from his chiselled face appeared which ignited one in return. Such was his influence; I felt my demeanour improving as he passed. Then something interesting happened. The lady who was with him - unaware of his gesture because she was in front - repeated identically what he had done. As they reached the safety of the far side, both stopped, turned and gave me a simultaneous wave. The synchronisation in their movements would have rivalled Torvill and Dean in their heyday. It was obvious that they were positive people who brought out goodness and appreciation in each other.

I have long since learned that we are the sum of the average five or six people whom we spend most time with. Perhaps this is a prime example. To achieve our goals, I also believe we must surround ourselves with great people. I would strongly contend that nobody has ever achieved anything without assistance or influence from someone in some capacity.

We need people who have a skill to teach (a coach). Others, whom we might enlist, are those who motivate us, hold us accountable (a friend) or inspire us (Olympian) into a state of heightened energy. We don't even have to meet someone to surround ourselves with their influence. We can observe from a distance, read a book, see them on TV or be moved or educated from hearing a story of success or endeavour.

Make sure that you seek council or take influence from the right people. Often I see people influenced by those who might not necessarily have the correct skill-set to match. When training for a big event, it can be easy to be persuaded by everyone at the coffee table. Choose and filter information wisely and from the right sources. Yes, someone might have value in one area, but be careful not to assume that everything they say is correct. Too many opinions can spoil your goal.

It is also important that we surround ourselves with positive people. I am not suggesting that you eliminate less than positive people from your life, but it doesn't mean you have to allow negativity to filter into your own psyche and hold you back. These people might be close to you and so you might have a strong relationship with them. Rather, I believe you can allow their opinion or energy to the front door and to say hello, but you don't have to allow them in. This will ensure you are respecting them but also getting the most out of that relationship for you too.

As the septuagenarians disappeared up the street, a bus passed. It reminded me of a fitting way to close. You have to get the right people on your bus, you have to get the wrong people off your bus and you have to make sure the people on the bus are sitting in the right seats.

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