I’d like the record to show that I have always said Steve Bannon is a whack-job. I truly try to keep a respectful tone in this space, but this guy really is just nuttier than a fruitcake. Also to note for the record, fruitcake is gross; but then again, so is Steve Bannon.
Growing up, I always heard the old saying, “You will become who you surround yourself with.” This was the verbiage shared with me by my parents, my youth leaders, my teachers and other adults who played pivotal roles in my upbringing. The older I get the more I see the truth in these words.
Yes Mom, you were right.
One of the gazillion lessons we hope to teach our son is to choose his friends wisely.
Booker T. Washington is credited with saying, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
I’m not sure if Donald Trump was taught this lesson growing up, like many of us, but it’s unfortunate the more we learn about the company he has kept. I know, without a doubt, that not everything we read and hear is true. But the most recent quotes from former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon are stark reminders that it is wise to choose your close associates carefully.
Scientists have been looking at human interaction for as long as humans have existed.
In 2013, Psychological Science conducted a report that showed that when people are running low on self-control, they often seek out self-disciplined people to boost their willpower. One would argue that you have to have some sense of self-awareness to see your lack of self-control to carry this principal out. Perhaps that is what Donald Trump is missing? Think about it in your own life, if you’ve ever set a goal of losing weight, or exercising more, you typically find a friend who is further along on that path and you attempt to align yourself with them. You will find they are far more motivating in regards to gym visits and healthier ordering at restaurants. When you choose to align yourself with someone who has no desire to lose weight or work out more you will fail. It’s really that simple and we prove it over and over again in our own lives.
Also in 2013, the Journal of Consumer Research conducted a study that showed that people who were feeling lonely or rejected, and lacked adequate social interaction, were more likely to take bigger risks with money. I’ve never been a pro with money and have always had a fairly large amount of social interaction, so I’m not saying that is the end all, be all. But think about times in your life when you’ve been a little lonelier than others. Perhaps after a breakup, you decided to splurge on some new clothes or a new haircut.
There was also a study done by the Edinburgh Business School that showed the more connections we have on social media the higher our stress levels may be. “The more the merrier” may not always be the best case scenario. There have been numerous studies that have shown that more “friends” on Facebook can actually lead to more anxiety in our personal lives. I think it’s plausible that the “online version” of who people pretend to be can be a stressful thing for those who feel less adequate. Yet another reason Donald Trump should get off Twitter.
Flinders University in Australia followed 1500 people for 10 years to study the secret to a longer life. They found through this study that those with a large network of friends outlived their counterparts by 22%. There have been other studies that have shown that those with cancer live longer when they attend support groups. Sure, friendships can add another layer of stress to your life, but the studies show it is one of the best things you can do for your health.
A 2014 study published by the Journal of Consumer Research found that friends often bond by providing one another with moral support to resist a temptation. As in the previously used example, it is easier to lose weight and work out more when you do it with a friend. That being said, I think the reverse is true too, it’s a lot more fun to indulge in something with a friend.
With the scientific reality that friends can impact not just the quality of your life but the length of your life, I think there’s a lot to learn from those we surround ourselves with.
Many have argued, and though I disagree, that George W. Bush was dumb. He really wasn’t but that’s for another blog. When you look at the people he surrounded himself with though you see a better suited cabinet and administration for our country. Call me crazy but I think Karl Rove creating your strategy is still a lot better option than Steve Bannon.
I’ve had some really incredible friendships in my life, and some really crappy ones. I’ve grown so much from both it’s hard to have disdain for any. I’ll concur with what the scientists are saying though that surrounding myself with top-notch friends has been hugely beneficial to my life.
I’d encourage you in 2018 to find your tribe. Really hone in on the people who make you better. The people who challenge you. The people who encourage you. The people who pray for you. The people who build you up. The people who are honest with you. The people who make you laugh. The people who never hesitate to be there for you. The people who give as much to you as you give to them.
I’m thankful today for my tribe and hope that our President finds more people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders to surround himself with and less people like the buffoon who goes by the name Steve Bannon.
May God Bless You and Keep You Friends, XOXO!