Stop Spending Time With People Who Drag You Down.

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker’s weekly dive into the pool of stoic wisdom and how you can use its waters to meditate and improve your life.

This week’s choice is Epictetus. He invites us to communicate only with people who have a positive effect on our lives:

“The key is to keep company only with people who inspire you, whose presence demands the best of you.”

The Art of Living: A Classic Guide to Virtue, Happiness, and Efficiency, Reinterpreted by Sharon LeBell

What does it mean

Epictetus believed that you can be better than everyone else if you surround yourself with people who understand this. However, when he says “elation,” he does not necessarily mean that he has become happy. Ascension can mean something different for everyone. It’s the same with “your best”. Basically, you shouldn’t spend time with anyone who corrupts your virtues, undermines your happiness, or prevents you from being effective – whatever that means to you.

What to take from there

This advice is simple, but difficult to apply in real life. We are so often caught up in social circles, workplace politics, and social commitment that it is sometimes difficult to determine if we really like the people we spend time with. Even worse, these people can suppress our best qualities or draw out our worst.

Before you run off to your next meeting or meeting, ask yourself if these people are showing your best qualities. If you are a smart thinker, do they challenge your mind? If you’re a creative person, are they pushing you to pursue their art? If you’re wondering, do they present you with new ways of looking at the world? If you are a free spirit seeking adventure, do they seek it with you or tie you up? Are you really happy to be around them?

Think of the things that lift you as a person, the qualities that push you to become better, and look for those in others. Surround yourself with living catalysts that will push you to become the greatest version of yourself. Every moment you spend with someone holding you back is a forever lost moment.


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