Don’t Hang With Quitters

One of the things I remember my mother drumming into my head is the importance of choosing my friends wisely. Nothing has a greater influence on the person you’ll become, she said. I’m sure I rolled my eyes at the time. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s the single best piece of wisdom she ever gave me.

We’ve all had the experience of reflecting the people around us. If you are surrounded by grousers and whiners, you naturally feel yourself falling into a pattern of grousing and whining, partly because the grousing whiners will reward you for being like them. So how could you not?

On the other hand, when you surround yourself with people who are positive and optimistic and happy to be alive, you can’t help feeling the same.

So your boss is a tough cookie. It’s natural to look at that situation and just want to chuck the whole thing and start over, especially when those around you make a habit of cutting and running when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. But more often, it’s a quick fix that avoids the real problem.

Instead, ask what the real problem is and whether there’s something you need to adjust in your own approach to the situation. Otherwise you’re likely to carry the problem forward, right into the next task, the next job, or the next career.

Next, surround yourself with people who “stick it out.” Choose friends who persevere, or they will support you into a pointless pattern of bouncing between failures. Real friends tell you the truth and help you stay the course. That’s a quality worth looking for. So surround yourself with people who will not LET you quit!

Finally, imagine how you will stand out from the whiners and quitters if you really step up to the plate. Tell your boss you want to contribute more, then ask how you can improve what you do to make that happen.

Then help the poor guy off the floor.


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