Remember when your parents didn’t want you hanging out with certain people because they were a ‘bad influence’?

And then, years later, you understood that there were some things you became involved in because your friends were doing it.

Well, it’s true. . .your parents weren’t always wrong.

Today you think you work hard. You think you’re doing all the right things. And you don’t understand why you’re not more successful, living the life you’ve always dreamed of living.

One of the first things you need to do is look around. Where is your time spent? Do you hang around with people who are constantly complaining about their work, their boss, their lives and other people?

Take a minute and think about your conversations with your friends. After you talk with them do you feel positive, uplifted and motivated? Or do you feel negative, down and depressed?

It’s a fact that our thoughts, feelings and attitudes tend to be most like the people we call friends. It’s impossible not to be influenced by those around us. That’s why it is so vitally important you choose wisely the people who occupy most of your time.

Look around at people you feel are successful. Their friends are usually like-minded individuals who are internally motivated and positive thinkers.

Your success is determined, in part, by the company you keep. Your friends should see the glass as half full and not half empty. They should be realistic but encouraging, not discouraging. They should offer advice, not criticisms. And you should be that kind of friend too. By being that person you will attract the people you desire to be your friend.

Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, write down the names of the people you know who drain your energy, who you dread spending time with, and who make you feel like downing a pound of chocolate.

On the right side, write down the names of your friends who encourage and motivate you to live a better life. Hopefully, there will be more names in the right column than the left. But if there’s not, then there’s a definite trend in the wrong direction. It’s time to take stock of your friends and acquaintances and make some positive changes.

Make a written commitment to yourself to minimize your contact with the energy sappers while maximizing your contact with the energy sources. Make a commitment to try to meet one more person who is encouraging and uplifting.

While you’re at work avoid the office grumblers who enjoy complaining about everything and everyone. Align yourself with co-workers who practice success strategies and maintain a positive attitude. Your boss will notice.

As the saying goes, “You can pick your friends, but not your family.” If you there are negative people in your house you do have choices. You choose to be upbeat and positive. You make a conscious effort to make a change in your life. It actually takes less muscle to smile than it does to frown. Create balance in your life by encouraging new or existing relationships that support your successful attitude.