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Take responsibility for your life.

Becoming better at whatever it is you desire in life isn't all that easy. Think about it ... Everything requires effort, interest, engagement, thought, education, self-motivation ... You can't master anything in life without the previous ... Relationships, careers, health ... No matter what it is, there is a recipe for it to succeed. In addition to the previously mentioned ingredients, you also need quality people. You can't master anything in life if you're surrounded by the wrong people. This is crucial to understand. Negativity is poison. You're only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.

Hear me out ... Sometimes, you have to go through hell before you get to heaven. Sometimes, you have to work the crappy jobs to appreciate a good one, date the frogs so you can appreciate a prince, hang with bums to know what real friends are ... Sometimes, it's in the process of change where you start to recognize what it is that makes you better.

But just because it sometimes requires a little work and hardship to get where you're going, it doesn't make it OK for you to surround yourself with people who just don't get it ... That's not enough of a reason to give up, delay your progress, or to suffice as an excuse for why something didn't work out. It is up to us to surround ourselves with people who lift us higher, who help us think wiser and dream bigger, who give us hope and purpose.

If you find yourself feeling drained and depleted, if you find yourself in a rut, don't give up. Look around you. Are you surrounded by people who are smarter than you? Who are richer than you? Who are more experienced than you? Who are more positive than you? Who can teach you something worth knowing? If not, then why? How can you become better if you continue to hang with people on or below your level? And not so much in a financial level, but in mentality and intellect, too. How can you grow if you remain where you were planted?

There's a point in time where we have to come out of our shell, go against the grain, turn our cheek to the BS, gossip and negativity, and be an adult ... And sometimes that requires separation. Understand that in that separation, there will be losses ... there will be critics ... there will be hardships ... but with faith, you can be sure there will also be rewards.

We are not put on this earth to merely exist, but instead, to promote positive change, to build people up, to bring life to everything we encounter and to not let anyone leave our presence without feeling better. If we all focused on becoming better at everything we do, we wouldn't be so quick to make excuses for why we aren't. We'd be too busy bettering ourselves that we would have less time to stop and point the finger at others and would quit being negative, effortlessly ... but so much of what we do is consumed by opinions of others, is spoken upon and advised by people who have no business critiquing, and is quick to be shut down by people who have never really amounted to anything, no offense ... Just reality. If we all stopped consulting those who have no business giving direction and instead, looked up the hierarchy to mentors who can guide us, we'd probably end up in a better place sooner rather than later or worse yet, rather than never.

Think about your biggest dream, your greatest idea, your most unique invention ... then think about who you share those thoughts with ... Do those people lift you higher? Give constructive advice? Support your ambitions? Or do they repeatedly give you reasons as to why it will never work? Break you down to believe your ideas aren't worthy? Make you feel small? ... Sometimes the quality of people isn't demonstrated in the verbiage of what they say, but in the efforts they put forth in saying it. You can put someone down politely, crush their dreams with dignity, but if they're repetitive in their actions to bring you down, they are showing you that they consistently fail to aid in your growth. If that's the case, it's time to stop sharing those ideas and pick new friends.

We can't fly if we don't spread our wings, but no one is going to open em' for us. We've got to be brave enough to do things on our own sometimes, even if that means having a vision no one else can resonate with and distancing ourselves from those who don't see eye to eye.

Look for quality people if you intend to share your dreams and ideas. Don't waste your breath on people who are committed to misunderstanding you. When you find quality people who love who you are, who want to grow with you and who truly get pleasure in watching you succeed, that's when you'll know you've met your match and you're in good company. You shouldn't feel bad when you dream big--you should feel empowered. Remember that.

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for its better to be alone than in bad company. -Booker T. Washington