Most people understand that setting goals and managing time requires being proactive. However, many people consider the external influences in life-what gets put into your mind-very circumstantial, therefore that they are out of your control.
It is not only possible-it is your responsibility-to take a proactive approach to influencing what influences you!
There are three critical areas where you can substantially affect what enters your mind from the outside: the people you spend time with, what you read, and what you listen to.
- The People You Spend Time With
Ii is nearly impossibly not to be influenced by the people around you. So…do you surround yourself with people who find fault in everything and everyone? Or do your friends, acquaintances and co-workers always look on the bright side? Do your conversations involve more excuses and reasons NOT to take action or do you brainstorm ideas of how to make things better? Do the people you spend time with encourage you and believe in you, or do you have a hard time discussing your hopes and dreams?
The answers to these questions arguably influence you more than any other factor. Make sure you are maximizing the amount of time you spend with good influences and eliminating or at least minimizing the time you spend with negative people.
- What You Read
Is the extent of your daily reading the billboards you pass on the way to the office and the e-mails in your inbox? What you read affects not only your approach to your day but how you view life, so make a conscious decision about what you put into your head. Don’t give all the control to advertisers!
One of the greatest motivators, Zig Ziglar,-finds this influence so important that he carves three hours out of every day to read. Many can’t justify three hours of reading per day, but I recommend a minimum of a solid fifteen minutes per day of intentional reading to see a great impact. For some great books to read, check out Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List.
- What You Listen To
The average commute for metropolitan workers is about an hour a day (not including traffic jams), and the average salesperson spends many more hours in their car. If you don’t take a good portion of that time to learn you are wasting time and giving away money! The audio programs available today will allow you to use your car as a classroom or a mobile university if you will. Listen to experts in your field, sales tips, learn a new language, get motivated, brush up on the Bible, hear financial and investing suggestions, have an author read you their book, but do not throw away the opportunity to help yourself grow!
Nightingale Conant is the world’s largest providers of exceptional audio programs. Check out their online catalogue and start using your drive time to be productive.
Here are three proactive steps to take this month to improve your external influences:
1. Be conscious of the attitude and conversation of the people you are around and evaluate the kind of influence it has on you. Take steps to maximize the time you spend with the positive influences in your life.
2. Pick a book that you would like to read, go get it, and start reading it 15 minutes per day! Here is a list of our favorite books on a bunch of topics including sales, goal setting, leadership, financial freedom, time management, business development, and more.
3. Borrow or purchase an audio-program for your car and listen to it for at least half of your commute or when you are working out.
Try just one of these suggestions and let me know how your world improves!