I think we’ve all had times in our lives when people close to us have made decisions or did something that, in our opinion, set a bad example either for us or other people. Whether it’s the way they argue in public with their partner or the way they raise their kids, we subconsciously watch and make mental notes on how we don’t want to do things that way.
But, there’s also the dangerous alternate reaction: taking that example and using it as the standard off which you base your own decisions.
A great example is with diet. If you want to feel content and satisfied with the fact that you know you haven’t been making good nutritional decisions, you’ve been drinking more than you know you should, or you’ve taken more days off from training than you’ve actually spent training at the gym, you probably have a group of people that hang out with that you know are always going to be in worse shape than you.
If you feel bad about yourself, you call this crew right up and can trust that you’ll walk away feeling like, “Well, at least I’m not that bad.”
On the other side, you can choose to make the harder decision to spend time hanging out with your friends that may be in a much better physical state than you, but motivate you to think twice about ordering a drink at dinner or choose to meet up to go for a quick hike to catch up instead of getting ice cream and a coffee.
Ben and I are constantly looking around us, usually unintentionally, and just watching to see how other people do things…so, we can figure out how we want to do our own things…either the same, or drastically different.
While we’re not walking around our day hunting down poor decision-makers and playing police officer, we are having regular conversations about how we can use those observations as opportunities for us to figure out, through other people’s experiences, how to go about making our own decisions.
It’s the classic case of “I am not going to end up like that.” Or, “I am never going to do it like that.”
And, as much as people will say, “Just wait. Someday, you’ll see…” they have no idea how much more that makes me want to turn it around and make sure I don’t do things like them.