The Power of People

Even though I’m introverted, I am “up” with people. I believe people are good and want to help others. I know there are positive, supportive people out there that want to help you achieve your goals. You must believe this as well.

In the past, many of my articles have focused on taking control, exerting power, developing discipline, and even manipulating others to get what you want. But now it’s time to talk about how we can succeed when we use Love, Encouragement, Support, Modeling, and Mentoring. Let’s show you how to harness the power of positive people to improve your life and the lives of others.

This means recruiting personal assistants, employees, business partners, friends, family, and mentors onto your team and working towards your vision. For readers that are currently employees or those just getting started in their own entrepreneurial ventures, the list might be smaller, focusing on friends, family, colleagues, contract help, and mentors (both virtual and direct). Regardless of where you are starting, positive people are a necessity. You must recruit staunch allies to support your daily battles, to help you win the war for your mornings, and to heal and recover from your battles. Here’s how…

This will be difficult for many people. Readers may have a hard time believing there are any positive people willing to support their dreams. The average person tends to live a “crab in a bucket existence”. If you’re not familiar with this disease of the mind, let me explain.

The story goes like this. Visiting Alaska on a summer cruise, you stop in a port city to walk around. Strolling down a pier you come across several local fisherman seated on the edge of the dock. Beside each is a bucket. You take a peak inside and notice there are a bunch of small crabs. One is clamoring for the top of the bucket. It looks like there is going to be a jail break.

“Hey Mister,” you say, “one of your crabs is trying to make a break for it. Better put a lid on that bucket.”

The old fisherman chuckles and says to you, “Sonny, watch this. He ain’t going nowhere. Those other crabs won’t be lettin’ no one escape.”

You turn to the bucket and watch. There it is, plain as day. One of them is making their escape like Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption. The crab has almost climbed to the top of the bucket. “Free at last, free at last, thank heavens, the crab will be free at last,” you think. Suddenly, one of the other crabs hauls the potential escapee back down to the bottom of the bucket.

The old fisherman laughs again. “You see, ain’t none of those other crabs ever going to let one of the other ones escape,” he says. “Them crabs is always safe in your bucket.”

That’s a far too accurate analogy for the average person’s attitude in life. When people see someone starting to do well and to escape their current comfort zone, bitterness, fear and jealousy drives the average person to pull the escapee back down. It might be done through subconscious sabotage. The saboteur might not fully realize they are being negative and holding you down. Then again, they might be doing everything they possibly can, on purpose, to interfere with your success in life.

That’s what we must deal with if we don’t make the effort to surround ourselves with positive people. Only then can we achieve the escape velocity necessary to leave our Comfort Zone.

For readers stuck in a crab-in-the-bucket environment, there’s hope. Positive people exist. There really are great people out there who want to help you. You’ll find them online, in your gym, at your church, and even in your workplace. Many of them are hiding. They hold back their positivity and from sharing their goals and dreams because they too have had their dreams crushed by others. Better to keep their desires secret than be ridiculed by friends, family, and co-workers.

How does one escape this? It starts with small steps, making little bets, and doing minor tests. You must proceed cautiously at first. After you have created your Vision here, you leak out a small amount of your dreams to someone. You watch their response. If it is supportive, you share a little more. If they laugh at you, tell you it will never happen, or list all of the ways that you’re going to fail, then you simply reverse course and strike that person off your list of people that you should be spending a lot of time with. You don’t have to ban them from your life forever, however, be prepared to interact with them on only a superficial level. They are not worthy of your goals, dreams and aspirations. They are a crab. They’ll never leave the bucket.

Don’t be discouraged if almost all of your tests fail in your current social circle. There are solutions to finding positive people even when you feel surrounded by an ocean of crabs. The first way to harness the power of people is through virtual mentors. You’re doing so right now just by reading this essay. Your local library is also full of virtual mentors, some alive, some long passed on. But their wisdom remains in best sellers such as, Think and Grow Rich, As a Man Thinketh, the Bible, and books and tapes from personal development legends such as Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, and Stephen Covey.

If you’ve never read these books, start now. You might need to read them in secret away from the crabs (fortunately there are no crabs allowed in libraries). Do everything you can to remove the negativity from your life and surround yourself with positive influences. Stop listening to the news every hour on the hour. Turn off that darned CNN channel, the blowhard talking heads, the Nancy Grace screamers, the Dr. Phil morons, and all that junk talk radio. Stop associating with negative people at work. Avoid lunch dates where your co-workers do nothing but sit around a table and gripe. You cannot be in those environments if you want to live your best life. Find excuses to feed only positive material to your mind.

If your friends, family, and co-workers are living a life that encourages you to be lazy, fat, unhappy, unproductive, and average, it must stop. You have no other option but to cut back on the time you spend with these people. The time has come for you to stand up for yourself and do what is right for you in the long run. You only have one shot at leaving a legacy for your life. How you use your time, and who you spend your time with are the most important decisions you’ll make in life. Choose wisely.

“Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws…How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – NOW. Stop the excuses & procrastination. This is your life! From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.” – Epictetus

You cannot succeed if you let the crabs in the bucket pull you back down. You cannot soar with eagles if all you do is hang around turkeys.

It might feel difficult at first, but it is essential that you remove negative, stressful, and poisonous attitudes from your life.

The time to cut the cord has come. Do it quickly. Search out more positive people and experiences. Start with your local library. Build the foundation of your better days through the thoughts, habits, and actions recommended from virtual mentors. Go online and find new friends through forums, meet-up groups, and amongst people with the same interests in achievement as you.

Begin attending live events in your chosen industry, occupation, or hobby. Look for the positive people there. Build your network. If appropriate, join local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters. Look to join Mastermind groups for your business ventures. These consist of positive, like-minded, goal-oriented people just like you, and these are led via mentors who have had great success in the past and now want to coach you on your journey. Finding the right mentor for your future is one of the most important steps you can take on the path to success.

Fill your life with positive people, positive expectations, social support, and accountability partners. There are positive people out there. You can find them. But first, eliminate the negativity. Reduce the temptations that lead to gossiping and small talk. You are bigger – and better – than that.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on track for these goals each and every day. Click here to follow the exact 5-minute system you can use to improve your life.]