CHAPTER 7 Who Is Stopping You? Family and Friends: Fans or Foes?

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast will wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

—The Buddha

As we discussed earlier, a huge amount of what you believe about life has been handed down to you by your family. Your perspective will be greatly determined by the company you keep, by the people you hang around with. That's not to say that you will agree with everything your family and friends say, but the influences of people we love leave deep impressions on our psyches. Mental conditioning is a powerful tool. Our thought processes determine how we behave, the decisions we make, and even what we think of ourselves. If those thought processes have been heavily influenced by negative people, then even if we strive to be positive and work hard at self-development it can be a long uphill climb to rid ourselves of destructive thought patterns.

Vince: I had to overcome a lot of negativity that had been passed down to me by my family. I always felt as if nothing I did was good enough for my father. Even when I started making a lot of money, instead of telling me I'd done well, he attributed it to my good fortune in marrying a lucky wife! I'll never forget the most hurtful thing he ever said to me. He was sick, and as a trained pharmacist I tried to give him advice. He said, “Why should I listen to you; you're not a doctor. If I need advice I'll go to a doctor.” ...

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