You’ve probably heard the adage that you are the sum of the five people you spend time with (thanks to Jim Rohn). This is easy enough to understand but do we actually take the time to question with whom we spend our time. And even if we do, how do we go about judging if they are good or bad for us? Aren’t we supposed to avoid judging others? Do we just go with our gut?
For the answers, we look to earthquakes. Most of us are familiar with earthquakes and the Richter scale. The Richter scale measures the magnitude or shaking amplitude of an earthquake. The larger the number on the Richter Scale, the worse the earthquake.
Now reflect on everybody you are in contact with whose energy drags you down. Think back to your immediate reaction when these people are around. Do they spark positive or negative feelings? Do they energize you or do they drain you?
If they provoke a negative response, this destructive energy can be likened to that of an earthquake. The more negative they are the more destructive they are to your well-being. But in this case, the more damaging they are, the lower the number (from 1-10). You just need to flip the Richter scale upside down, where 1 is horrible and 10 is perfect. Let’s call it the Ricard scale (for the supposed happiest person on earth, Mattieu Ricard).
If you were to look at everybody you spend time with, who are the people who are vibrating at those lower frequency, who’s negative energy is constantly dragging you down? The consistent 2,s, 3s, and 4s on the Ricard scale.
I’m not talking about some who has a bad day now and then. I’m talking about the chronic sappers of energy. These ‘earthquakes’ are doing damage every time we see them. So if they’re doing damage every time we see them, why are they in our lives? Besides family (and even family needs to be distanced in some cases), who really NEEDS to be in our lives?
Please don’t take this suggestion or advice as an indication that these people are lesser people, or don’t deserve to be loved. Quite the contrary. Everyone has a different path in life. Not a good or bad path, a different path. Trying to convince ourselves that these people, we wish to remove from our lives, couldn’t just as well be us in an alternate reality is futile.
You may delude yourself into believing YOU are better than these people but be careful how much attachment you put on ‘ME’. We are all a function of a genetic lottery. Someone else’s path or circumstances could have just as easily been our path. The point isn’t to judge. It’s to decide what is serving our best outcome.
I just watched an incredible documentary on Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Ken Burns. It described, among other things, the conditions during the Great Depression. The suffering was incomprehensible. An eerie emotion came over me when I realized that that could have been me, it could have been my family. I could have been born in 1933, in the Midwest USA. It’s all a genetic lottery.
The simple fact is that some people – AT THIS MOMENT – may be vibrating at a different frequency or are on a path incongruent to ours. But don’t be too attached to this moment because the concept of impermanence reminds us that things can change from one moment to the next. This is more eloquently summed up by the ancient philosopher Heracleitus, “ You can’t step twice into the same river.” One day the shoe may be on the other foot.
Nonetheless, these people do have a negative impact on our growth and happiness if they remain in our lives. Much like earthquakes, the damage is inevitable and the closer we are to the epicenter the greater the damage. Don’t treat these decisions lightly, as this energy transfer – this damage – is shaping our consciousness every day of our lives. There is a cost to dealing with these earthquakes. So maybe it’s time to take an inventory of those you spend time with on a regular basis. Decide that the damage from some of these people comes at too much of a cost. We need to start investing our time into people that amplify our energy. This – I guarantee – will change the course of your life.
Because in the end, building defenses to withstand earthquakes is a waste of our resources. Follow the positive energy in life and you can’t lose.