There’s this truly stupid cliche, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” To me, that absolutely makes no sense. If you know someone is not good for you, that they bring negative energy into your life, wouldn’t it make much more sense to make sure they are as far away as possible?
Throughout history, people have been ruined by those who were around them who did not have pure, positive intentions within them. Caesar was betrayed and assassinated by Brutus, one of his most loyal followers up until that point. Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of his 12 closest disciples, for 30 pieces of silver.
One can go on and on with examples throughout history, where great men and women were betrayed by false friends and associates. We might not have as many people betraying you in ways that cost your actual life in today’s world, but there are many other forms of betrayal that take place, such as backbiting, lying, being a yes-man, all these types of people are detrimental to anyone trying to achieve their highest potential.
If someone backbites and lies to someone, it shows a complete lack of respect for them, plain and simple. Being a yes-man, it is the same thing, except it is done more subtly. They are attempting to get closer to them for some form of personal gain. In essence, yes- men are parasites. They don’t actually care for you. They are only being “good to you” because it serves them and as soon as they feel that is not the case, they will run like the wind.
What you need on the journey to be great are people who truly respect you, and truly wish for your success. What you need are not people who tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear. This seems like common sense, but it is amazing how common sense is not common practice.
Most people understand that you have to keep as much good energy around you as possible, but what many don’t grasp the importance of is minimizing the amount of negative energy around you. Most people are not willing to cut off negative energy from their lives. We all have a sense of which people are good and not good for us, but very few people ever really take it upon themselves to cut off the bad energy.
Tim Grover, in his landmark book, Relentless, describes the Relentless 13, which are 13 rules for achieving greatness in any field, or as he calls it, becoming a cleaner. One of these rules is that “You trust very few people, and those you trust better never let you down.”
That is such a beautiful statement. Trust is a very precious thing to give, and that means you cannot just give it to any old person off the street. You must be very careful to whom you give it to, and be fully sure that they have your best interests in mind before you do so.
The second part is also important. If someone lets you down, and I don't mean by accident, but rather by their own malicious intentions, or lack of respect for you, then they are not someone you want to keep around and you should cut them off immediately. As said before, trust is a very valuable thing to give to someone, and you want people around you who treat your trust with respect, not take it for granted.
The question then becomes, how do you differentiate between the right people and the ones you want to stay away from. Let me put it to you this way. Let’s say you are the sun in your life, you are the star of your own show after all, and everything else in it, is part of this garden.
The right people are those who receive your light of positivity and love and receive it graciously. Just as a beautiful tree or flower receives the sunlight and it gives them life, your light is a source of joy for the right people. That energy of love for you will come right off them. The environment around it, i.e. your life, will be enriched by what they give.
Fake friends and yes-men on the other hand are like plastic plants and weeds. To a plastic plant, sunlight is absolutely worthless, and to a fake friend, your love and trust is absolutely worthless, and they treat it as such. They will put up a front to try and get whatever they can from you. Weeds simply are parasites who steal from you for personal gain without doing anything to make your life more beautiful.
However, a plastic plant does not do anything positive for the environment, it is simply a dead weight sitting there holding you back. In fact, it can even be poisonous to the soil around it. Weeds steal energy from you and the rest of the environment around it. Yes-men and fake friends are like this. The only solution is to cut them off ASAP.
Look, we all have habits and relationships holding us back. Part of living to your highest potential means cutting away those dead weights and parasites from your life so that you can look towards higher ideals. Simply let your light shine as bright as possible, and illuminate all around you. The fake ones will be apparent and will naturally fall out of your life, while the ones who are good for you will receive your light graciously. Just as sunflowers turn to the sun, the right people will naturally come to you. All you have to do is focus on making yourself the best possible you, and going to the highest level possible.