This Letter to Headquarters comes from Bradley. He’s 35, from Seattle, Washington:
Commander in Chief,
Hope things are going well with you. I always did like the show, and based on the strength of that, now I have the Battle Plan too. Impressive. I’ve started to look at women and life very, very differently. Believe it or not, I’m just half-way through it and not only am I making some big time, positive changes in my life—but other people around me are starting to notice this too.
So far, I’ve managed to make some real changes in my attitude, my appearance, and even in my career. The Universal Soldier principle that you talk about in your book has been getting me respect at work that I never used to get. But the only thing that concerns me is that I’ve also noticed that not everybody seems to be happy for me. I’ve noticed how even some of my friends don’t look at me the same way. Some of them even try to bring me down or hold me back sometimes.
It surprised me that some of the very people that I thought would be the most happy to see me become a better man, are not happy at all. In fact, I’d say some of them actually seem to be “low-key” mad as hell about it. But trust me, I’ve done nothing to any of these guys other than require more out of myself than I used to. But rather than “congratulate” all some of them want to do is “hate”.
So my question is this:
Why is it that some of my own friends don’t seem to be happy that I’ve started to improve my life?
Victory Unlimited writes:
Bradley, glad to hear that you’re getting it done, my man. There’s no feeling quite like seeing results that what you did yesterday is starting to pay off for you today, is it? But to answer your question:
Why is it that sometimes even your closest friends aren’t happy to see you make progress?
Well, there could be a variety of social dynamics that could be at work negatively effecting how other people are viewing your forward progress and success. However, let’s just talk about the top three.
Number One: The Fake Friend Effect
Sometimes people hate to see you make progress because they aren’t REALLY your friends. You see, at 35, I know that you’ve lived long enough to realize that a lot of people you associate with every day are not your friends—even people you like to think of “as” friends. In reality, all these people are that you associate with are just that—associates. They only seem like they’re closer to you than they really are because you see them on such a routine basis.
A prime example of this is the people that you work with on your job every day. The reality is that you should feel very fortunate if you actually have more real friends than you have fingers on one hand. And if you think I’m lying, here’s something for you to consider:
A real friend is not just somebody who keeps you honest, pumps you up, and has your back. A real friend is also somebody that you don’t have to always break out a lie detector, double up on anti-depressants, and constantly have to “watch your back” every time they come around.
So my question back to you would be:
How many of your “friends’ meet this criteria?
And if your answer is “not too many”, then I suspect that you’ve been putting too many extras on associate level relationships—which has caused you to think more highly of some people in your social circle than you probably should.
Number Two: The Earthquake Effect
Sometimes people hate to see you make progress because seeing YOU succeed rocks the ground out from under them, knocks them out of their comfort zone, and shatters their worldview. You see, some people, especially those who have known you for a long time, have gotten comfortable with the way you act, the car you drive, the kind of women you date, and so on and so on. So whenever you improve your life by becoming a better man than you used to be, and start doing things that they’re not used to seeing you do—it shatters whatever perception of you that they’ve always had.
So what do they do? They start trying to consciously or subconsciously put you right back into that “box” that they had you in. Why? That’s because to them, the more you stay the same, the more intact their personal perception of their world will be. They’re uncomfortable with you changing because they’re already comfortable with the role for which they’ve already cast you to play. Like a narcissistic actor/director, they don’t want to see you change because they’ve always seen you as only a supporting character or a bit player in “their” life—not the other way around.
Number Three: The Mirror Effect
Lastly, sometimes people hate to see you make progress because seeing you succeed makes them feel inferior. Notice what I said here, I didn’t say “you” make them feel inferior did I? No, what’s happening here is that they are viewing your success reflected back on them as “their” failure. True friends are usually supportive, appreciative, and congratulatory when they see you successful—but fake friends, associates, and undercover “haters” with low self-esteem only see your success as a bad reflection on where they may be in their own lives right now.
Think of it this way: Have you ever been sitting in a parking lot in your car next to another parked car, and suddenly you notice that the person in the car next to you has just cranked up and started to drive away? Well, that’s probably how some people around you see you. They see your personal forward progress as you somehow “leaving” them. And they’re uncomfortable with the idea of being “left behind” so what they do is try to stop you from pulling ahead of them. The sad truth is that the reason they do that is because they think that that’s easier to do than to start trying to make progress in their own lives too.
However, regardless of all of this, the bottom line is that you should always focus on continuing to move forward in your own life. Then, as you continue your forward march, try to help and encourage your friends (and associates) to join you in making progress in their own lives too. Some will join you now, some may join you later, and some may never join you. Those who are receptive—think of them as allies. But those who are not, you must think of as casualties of war—the war to become a better man today than you were yesterday.
However, do not let this overly concern you because the only person’s life decisions you will ever be in complete control of is your own. So until then, let the players “Play”, let the doers “Do”, let the haters “Hate”, and let the soldiers…“Soldier on”.
Victory Unlimited © 2013
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