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Possibly The Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make
Now we’re in February, the month we celebrate love and Valentine’s Day, it seems to be a good time to discuss relationships and how they can have a massive impact on our lives.
I’m not just talking about romantic relationships. I’m referring to all kinds of relationships, including those you build with your family, your friends, your teachers, and yes, even your girlfriend or boyfriend.
What do your friends have to do with your happiness and success? More than you might think. The people we hang out with have a significant influence on our attitudes, behaviours and ultimately the results we get in school and other aspects of our lives.
Think about it. If you spend a lot of your time with negative people who don’t value education or care about learning,
you’re likely to start thinking as they do. Many people in this situation stop caring about their grades and become just as jaded as the negative people they’re hanging out with.
If, on the other hand, you choose to hang out with optimistic people who try to excel in their studies, you will invariably follow suit and reap the rewards that come from this positive mindset. So choose your friends carefully because they are crucial to your success!
I’ve noticed that many teenagers spend a lot of their time, inside the classroom and outside the classroom, with the same group of friends. This might not be the best thing for you to do.
Because every successful person I know has cultivated different friendships for different areas of their life. They surround themselves with brilliant people, and they understand that nobody is good at everything. They learn from one group of experts, do business with a different group of people, and party with a separate group of mates. Do you get the idea?
I implemented this idea, in my own way during my last six months of high school. The results were amazing. I stopped sitting next to my mates in French lessons, and moved next to a girl who was almost fluent in the language. My grade jumped from ‘E’ to ‘B’ in what seemed like an impossibly quick period of time.
It’s important to appreciate the different kinds of
friendships you can develop to help boost your confidence and build a brilliant life for yourself. Here are a few ideas for you:
1) Social Friends
These are the mates you love to relax and have fun with. They are great to be around – lots of banter, jokes and laughter. These aren’t the folks you necessarily want to study with because it can lead to too many distractions and not much productivity, but it’s great to have relationships that enable you to smile and enjoy life!
2) School or Study Friends
These are the people you choose to sit with in class. Rather than cuddling up next to the social friends you hang out with after school, park yourself next to the kid who excels in that particular subject. For example, in Math lessons, sit next to the student who is high performing in Maths. You might not giggle much, but the benefits to your grades will be worth it.
3) Sports or Extracurricular Friends
Be sure to make friends with other kids who have the same hobbies and interests as you. I have life-long friendships with former football teammates I first met in my teen years. These guys had a completely different outlook on life than my study mates. They cared more about their health and fitness and helped me learn about the importance of teamwork. We enjoyed a different kind of camaraderie than I did with my school friends, but this balance of friendships
was great for building all-round confidence.
If sports are not your thing, try to develop friendships through your music, drama or art classes. Whatever your interests, it’s worth connecting with people who have the same passions as you.
4) Career-Based Friends
As you move into your late teens, it becomes important to develop friendships with people in the types of careers you’re considering. From the age of 15, I identified role models who were often twice my age. These people had already achieved what I wanted to achieve in the future. They helped me emulate their habits and put me on the path to career success.
5) Gym Friends
As someone who values my health, I found it useful to develop friendships in my gym. These people helped, and continue to help me, learn lots about health and nutrition. We share exercise routines, healthy recipes and other ideas to increase energy levels and keep in shape.
6) Romantic Interests
Most of us want to experience love and romance at some point in our lives. It’s easy to make mistakes in this category because some of us are in too much of a rush to experience this kind of connection. I recommend you take your time to find the right person, and never ever put up with any form of abuse – I’ve found it’s better to be alone than in the wrong relationship.
7) Internet Friends
With the Internet and social media so closely interwoven into our daily lives, we can obviously make friends online. These people can be located all over the world. They could be fellow teens with similar hobbies and interests, or role models you can go to for professional advice.
Of course you always need to keep yourself safe when making friends online. Never share any personal information
(such as your home address) or explicit photos, and never arrange to meet anyone without being accompanied by an adult who cares about you.
Always avoid associating yourself with racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc. Your social media footprint lasts a long time – it will affect your ability to get future jobs, travel internationally, and many other things you might never have anticipated. So choose your friends carefully!
Whilst we can choose our friends, we don’t choose our family. Nevertheless, our relatives have a considerable impact on us. You might not always see eye to eye, but family is important. I encourage you to create magic moments for your loved ones, and cherish the good times you share together.
The quality of your friendships is far more important than the number of them; it’s far better to have a few really good friends than many not-so-good ones.
If you have a friend who is constantly negative and puts you down, you need to avoid this person and distance yourself from the, After all, as Shakespeare once wrote:
Who you choose to spend your time with is undoubtedly amongst the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so never accept anything less than the best in your friendships.
Join me next month when we discuss the topic of leadership.