The example is simple and I’ve been using it for years. Think for a moment. Who would you trust with your keys? The list is pretty easy to come up with quickly. Close friends, family members and a few others are the usual suspects. They’ve earned the right to have your keys because you trust them. Most likely there are friends and family members that you wouldn’t trust with them. You’re going to be discerning because of the possible negative impact.
The keys question is so extremely simple because it is tangible. For some reason, we have a much more difficult time with deciding on the people that we’ll allow to influence our thoughts. Especially our thoughts about ourselves. These days there is a constant stream of information coming from the outside world. Much of it is aimed at influencing our thoughts and decisions. From the marketers who are trying to sell us something to the trolls who leave a random comments to make us feel badly, these people have most likely not earned the right but often they get let in anyway. So it’s important to stand guard at the gate of your mind.
This isn’t an easy task. We are bombarded constantly and therefore must be at the ready to deflect or accept. So here are a few things that you might want to consider doing in a quiet moment when you’re not overwhelmed by stimuli.
- Decide on who and about what: have a list or an idea inside of your head of who you trust and on what topics. I trust my best friend with my secrets but not particularly my diet.
- Decide on non-negotiables: there are some things about you that aren’t up for debate, regardless of who is talking to you.
- Consider the intent of the source: people will sometimes act altruistically but often people are self-serving. If their self-serving desires also serve you, WIN-WIN. If not, then beware.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to choose who you’ll trust with your “keys” but it’s necessary to lead a life on your terms. Although the keys analogy is not a perfect one, it’s a helpful starting spot. If you wouldn’t let this person drive your car, why are you going to let them drive your thoughts?
Buckle up! It’s a bumpy ride!