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Do The Math

I heard a great quote the other day by Jalen Rose, former college basketball standout who went on to have a really good 13 year career in the NBA. He said “People in your life usually have four purposes. To add, subtract, multiply or divide. Choose wisely!” It really got me thinking. And I mean deep thinking. He’s absolutely right. All the people in our lives fit into one of these 4 categories.

People can add to your life. Whether its mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, or whatever else you value – there are people who make your life just a little bit better by being in it. They support you. They tell you the truth, even when that’s not what you want to hear, because it’s the right thing to do. They can give you love and compassion. They can even help you pursue your passion. They are there when you need them. These are the folks we want to surround ourselves with. Hopefully you are thinking of a few of these people right now! I wonder when was the last time you told them how much you appreciate them? Just thinking out loud...

The next type of people just subtract from your life. I call them "the life suckers". And you know who I'm talking about. These are the people that after you visit with them you are just exhausted - and not in a good "wow that was an incredible weekend in Vegas but I don't remember much" kind of way! I'm talking exhausted in the "I've lost the will to live after spending 2 hours with this person" kind of way. They take the negative spin on everything. There's always an issue with their food! Just eat already! Yes - I know you ordered exactly 14 croutons on your salad but 13 is pretty close right (is there anything more uncomfortable than someone at your table being unreasonable with a server)? Or - they turn any story you are telling into a “me-fest”. "Oh you had surgery? Well that's just like the time I met the Queen of England. So get this..." And they have a knack for even ruining the good things that you do by either being jealous, being cynical, or just being mean. My Grandpa John used to say “There are only 2 types of people in the world. Those who light up the room when they walk in, and those who light up the room because they've walked out!” These people fall into the second type. You can’t wait for them to leave or get off the phone (or get off of Facebook - please). These people are the ones that we need to start to weed out of our life. Be busy. Like, all the time. Just busy busy busy. Eventually they will move on and find someone else's oxygen to suck up.

The 3rd type of people are the ones who act as a multiplying force in your life. These can be in concert with the people who add to your world, or they can just simply be somebody in your professional life. They may employ you. They may help you get better work. They are excellent at social and professional networking. They always seem to have connections and are always willing to use them to help someone, whether they actually know the individual or not. While not always necessary – these are really good people to have in your life. I need more of these folks - in fact - I'm looking for volunteers! Although I guess you should be careful when advertising for "multipliers"...

The last type are the Dividers, and they may be just the worst people ever. I'm not kidding. They're even worse than the subtractors if you can believe that! Because often times the subtractors are like they are but it's not on purpose and they usually don't even realize they are like that - it's just who they are. These divider people are actively trying to do something bad to you, either personally or professionally. It's intentional. They undermine you at every turn. They talk about you behind your back. They try to get a group of friends riled up against each other just to stir the pot. I find these people sad. They are either so disenchanted with their own lives that they go immediately to the “misery loves company” mindset, or, they are just evil people that do things for all the wrong reasons even though they know they are wrong. Steer clear of them at work and pull them from your "people garden" (I'm pretty sure that's a thing) in your personal life. There is no room for them and they cause you nothing but heartbreak.

Now it would be easy to wrap this up by saying - you need to get more adders and multipliers and get rid of and/or steer clear of the subtractors and dividers. Yes - you should do those things. Yes your life will be measurably happier if you do. But the thing that really got me thinking when I heard the aforementioned quote was - I wonder what people would say about me if asked anonymously. Don't you ever wonder what would your friends, your family, your co-workers and bosses, your bowling team members or fantasy football league owners or scrap-booking club scrappers, or whatever the heck else you are into - what would those folks say about you? So, I guess the real question is, which are you - an adder, subtracter, multiplier or divider? I know which 2 I'm shooting for! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this today.

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