Warning: Dump All Those Toxic Super-Achieving Friends Now!

November 17th, 2010

Super-achieving Tom Brady upset after being dumped by his good pal, Carlon

I recently read an interesting article and study, and let me tell you–it is shocking!

You know what all the self-help gurus tell you–dump all your downer “toxic” friends and surround yourself with super-achievers.

There’s only one problem with that.

Super-achieing friends are just as bad for you as those “toxic loser downer” friends.

I know what you’re thinking.  No way.  Not possible. It makes sense that by having high-achieving friends, then you too will be inspired to be a high achiever.

The truth, however, is not that simple.

As much as your downer friends’ drama wears you out, your super-achieving friends with their awards, accolades, and great adventurous-designed lifestyle equally wears you out.  It seems that super-achieving friends are just as bad for you as your downer friends.

You see, if you read any self-help book they will, rightfully, tell you that self-discipline is like a “muscle”.  Therefore, you have to exercise it.

Good advice that DSP totally agrees with.

But what we will tell you that other gurus won’t tell you is this: self-discipline, like a muscle can also get depleted.

The study I read talked about “vicarious depletion”.  It means when you get caught up in other people’s tasks, YOU have less willpower to do your own tasks. That’s why when you deal with you feel so worn out when dealing with “loser-friend” drama.

But when your dealing with your super-achieving friends’ “drama”, you get worn out too and have less willpower to carry out your own tasks.

So, does this mean you have to settle for mediocre friends?

Not really.

I can offer a pretty simple solution (note to all those hate mailers who say I never offer solutions):

Focus more on what YOU’RE doing and less on what your friends are doing.

Simple…of course I can write a whole book on ways to do that (one blog post isn’t enough).  But practicing detachment is a skill you should work to develop.  I personally use Vipassana meditation to “exercise the mind”.  But there are many other techniques that might work for you.

Try this: next time your friend talks about their bad day or their latest adventure…focus on how it makes YOU feel.  Then, you can start the process of understanding how those “loser” or super-achieving friends are wearing you out.

On a more serious note: BEWARE when gurus tell you to drop those “loser friends.”  Because what they’re really telling you is that you should drop those friends who tell you what full of crap the guru is and surround yourself with people who think the said guru is awesome.

Living in the land of YES-ville is dangerous.

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