I don’t know how the rest of you find a space to focus and work, to relax, to think and meditate, or just to breathe, but for me music is essential. I have always done my best writing, studying, and thinking with good music playing the soundtrack of my life at that moment. Today’s soundtrack began exclusively with The Oak Ridge Boys.
They seemed like a natural pick for me. Aside from the fact that I’m a story teller and they tell stories well of love and heartache, pretty girls, unrequited love, regret, and the occasional happy ending, I’m a girl who also happens to be a romantic and songs about love are right up my alley. So I began writing and studying, plugged in and completely engrossed, but as I did I felt my sassy, perky attitude from the morning fading. Had something happened? No. Just listening to the music.
As I sat contemplating my withering sass, I realized the sad stories I was listening to — the unrequited love, the broken hearts, and the regret — far outweighed the happy ones. It wasn’t that I was in any way focused on the stories I was listening to; they were the lovely white noise to my work. But still the sadness and regret of the words being sung soaked into my subconscious enough that my cheeky grin from the morning disappeared without my even realizing it until after it was gone.
What we often forget, I think, is that what we entertain, what we adhere to, and what we surround ourselves with become a part of us whether we are aware of it or not. We don’t have to consciously choose to be influenced, it just happens.
It happens with more than just the soundtracks of our days. It’s with whom we spend our time, casually or seriously. It’s what we read, what we watch, and where we find our news. It’s whose words and opinions we hear and leave unchallenged. It’s everything outside ourselves, and it impacts our attitudes, our beliefs, and our actions.
If iron sharpens iron, who is sharpening you?
Are you surrounding yourself with those who complain, who make excuses, who are always up to something, who live in the past and hold a grudge, who refuse to grow or change, who don’t challenge themselves, who avoid a growth mindset, whose dialogue is always that of a victim, who procrastinate, who fail to follow through in their commitments, who lack respect, who are untrustworthy, who are negative, or who lie, cheat, and steal?
Or are you surrounding yourself with those who encourage and uplift, who have an inner drive, who practice forgiveness and who are humble, who find the positive in the most negative situation, who seek to grow and challenge themselves daily, who are honest and honorable?
Whomever you choose will be the subtle influences helping you to be who you are now.
So, do you like who you are becoming because of them?