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If you’re doing it right, you’ll lose friendships on the road to success.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

The current version of yourself resonates with the people that you’re currently spending time with. As you consistently apply personal development growth strategies, you’ll start to see your friendships drop off one by one.

Is this part of your life the most joyous? No. When have growing pains ever been enjoyable? But this is what you wanted, correct? This is the cost. This is what happens when you want to become the strongest version of yourself.

There’s a dichotomy of success in this era. Extreme winning and extreme loss. It seems as if there is no spectrum at all because right now we’re in a seemingly, nebulous transitional period. We’re transitioning from antiquated ways of earning a living such as selling our time for money to leveraging the amount of value we possess.

The internet acts as an amplifier for the value we project. Equipped with all of its tools: information, marketing software, community development, social media, etc.

During these times there are only two types of people, winners, and losers. There are no in-betweens. You want to know how you’ll know you’re a winner? You want to know how you’ll know if you’re growing?

Once again, my friend, your social circle will shrink. You’ll start to lose friendships when you:

1-Change Your Lifestyle

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“Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” — Jim Rohn

You don’t have time to party, hang out, mess around, and waste time. You’re focused now so your lifestyle reflects this newfound focus.

Take it from me. When I transitioned from a Bronx resident to someone who took actionable steps to better myself and leave, it meant inadvertently cutting off friendships that weren’t conducive to my growth. Along with it went the lifestyle that yielded me nothing.

And by no means am I being pompous. It’s just the natural order of life when failure is not an option.

I specifically remember one of my good friends hitting me up a month after I bought my new condo to tell me that the new Call Of Duty was out. I was still putting together some furniture, getting things in order while still having to go to work in order to afford my mortgage. During that period, I wanted to play. We always played the new Call Of Duty together when it came out but this year I’d have to miss it.

It’s little things like this that you’re going to have to sacrifice. These are the intimate moments that you’ve shared with loved ones that you’re going to have to put on the back burner in order for you to achieve what you want.

It might be inadvertent. It might be on purpose. People WILL be mad at you, but it’s just the way it is. Don’t kid yourself by thinking you can have both simultaneously during your period of growth. You’ll only slow your progress and you’ll become resentful in the long run.

2-Gain Education

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The word “educate” comes from the Latin word “educare” which means “to bring forth, to draw out.” When you become educated you begin to draw out your true potential. Education changes your vibrational frequency then soon enough you’ll fall out of vibrational alignment with those around you.

They’ll start to call you “uppity, conceited” and say things such as, “you think you’re better than us now.” It’s not that you think you’re better than them. A new version of yourself has emerged by actively tapping into who you’re meant to be. And it just so happens to be of magnitudes larger than those who choose to waste their potential.

Anyone around you who isn’t trying to live up to their true potential will feel like you’re slighting them. You remind them of what they should be doing but aren’t. This will lead to conflict with your best friend or even wider spread conflict within group dynamics. Suddenly you’ll find yourself not being invited to all those cool events you all once frequented.

It happened to me. Once I moved out of The Bronx, started strength training, got a couple of degrees, my friends stopped inviting me places. They made group chats without me, made plans without me, and traveled without me.

What you need to do is focus on yourself, build a new social circle of like-minded individuals, and keep it moving.

3-Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle

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What’s the relationship between health and education?

Well, studies show:

“…that the mortality rate(deaths per 100,000) among American males without a high school diploma between the ages of 25–64 years of age was 655.2. For Americans with high school diplomas, the death rate was 600.9 and males with a college education or higher is 238.9.”

Just this aspect of growth alone will separate you from your peers. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article health issues took some close friends away from me at an early age.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” — Jim Rohn

When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find yourself around like-minded individuals. You’ll also find that those who don’t value the same healthy lifestyle as you will gradually drift away, whether it’s because of death or your refusal to take part in bad health habits.

Many of my friends indulge in marijuana. I have nothing against those who smoke but I can’t be around it. The smell gets into my clothes, I catch “contact” and those are things that I prefer to avoid. Plus, there’s just a bond between people who smoke and I just don’t fit in when it comes to that aspect.

4-Shift Paradigms

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Once your perspectives shift, you might fail to have anything in common with people who were your life long friends.

As you become more educated, the way you view the world will change. When the way you view things change, so does your inner circle because people have a tendency to be tribal.

These tribes are predicated on ways of thinking as well as perspectives. For example, your political views might change drastically. You might oscillate between liberal and conservative values as you start to experience more growth. Your thinking becomes more nuanced in nature. Your religious views shift as well.

All of these things result from a shift in your paradigms. Old paradigms that you once used for survival might become obsolete. New paradigms come into play in order for you to thrive while your friends are still in survival mode.

I talk about the intricacies of paradigm shifts at length in this article:

Paradigm Shifts Are Like Pruning Your Plants
What is a “paradigm?”

5-Establish Boundaries

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By far the most causality causing aspect of growth is boundaries. When you’re focused on becoming better every day, your boundaries manifest on their own.

You have project deadlines to meet, to-do lists, you might even be building a business that requires large blocks of your attention. You might find yourself having to “pencil people in.” That alone will cause a rift between you and friends.

You might manually have to assert boundaries, especially if you’re notorious for being a pushover. You have goals to achieve and you’re not going to let anyone stand in the way of you and your goals, right?

6-Achieve More Than Them

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“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” — Ray Goforth

We all watch what each other has. I’ve personally been on the receiving end of feeling like I’m not keeping up with the growth of my friends.

In high school, one of my good friends got a job working part-time at a warehouse as a stock boy. I had a girlfriend and I wanted to take her to the movies every other week without having to ask my mother for allowance. Having a job meant being a real man. By comparison, I felt like less of a man.

Have you ever been in a situation where people around you were thriving and you felt like you were struggling just to get by?

When you level up, your friends will feel the same way. They will feel like they’re just trying to get by. And here you come thriving, seemingly making a mockery out of their existence. It goes without saying that this will drive a wedge between you and them.

7-Get Rid Of Bad Habits

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Smoking, substance abuse, or any other unhealthy habit that you’ve bonded with others over will eventually fall away once you’ve committed to growth. Your friendships that were associated with these bad habits will fall away too.

For example, if you were an avid smoker at one point and decided to quit, there’s no way you can be around people who still indulge in this habit. It’ll potentially cause you to relapse and you can’t have that.

If the habit is not smoking, substance abuse, etc, it may be something subtle about you that you’ve decided to do away with. Something that people “know you for.”

It could be something such as cussing. Since a version of you, that’s characterized by throwing F-bombs exists in the minds of others, you not cussing is an affront to their ideal of you. Getting rid of this makes them feel detached from you. They feel like they don’t know you anymore.

8-Assert Yourself

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“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure — It is: Try to please everybody.”— Herbert Bayard Swope

When you know what you want, you go after what you want. You’ll know your worth and you won’t let anyone define what that is for you.

You become no-nonsense and people won’t like that. They’ll want to take you down a notch so as to cultivate a delusional sense of superiority. They’ll tell you “it’s for your own good” because you need to be “humble.”

Humility is priceless. It’s one of the best characteristics you can have when achieving success. It keeps you open-minded and willing to learn more about your chosen craft. But what you don’t want is someone dictating your behavior under the guise that “it’s for your own good.”

You’ll buck against the parameters of other people’s opinions. You’ll shatter their image of you. Disagreements will ensue and some of these friendships will come to an end.

These are all things that come with growth. The challenge is finding a balance between cordiality and diplomacy while serving your best interest without making it seem as if you’re too strong-headed.

The Takeaway

The thing about personal development is that you’ll be growing in ways that aren’t obvious from your own frame of reference. The way you talk, the way you carry yourself and the way you silently command the attention of those around you will be strikingly evident. Your friends won’t be able to be around you for too long because of it.

I’m not trying to discourage you from being successful. I’m just telling it like it is. This is something I had to learn all on my own. There wasn’t anyone around me to warn me of how lonely this path can be at times. No one warned that many of my friendships would become casualties of success.

I often wonder if it would have even made a difference if someone did warn me in the first place.

But when you think about it, since you’re doing something different from the rest, it makes sense that you’ll be alone on this path. You’re setting yourself apart by being unique. By developing and expressing your gifts.

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