One Thing Has the Greatest Impact on Your Life

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209 people had breakthroughs so far this week. Will one of them be you?

Two things for you to think about

Relationships are the multipliers of life. Good relationships make other good things even better. Bad relationships make other bad things even worse.

Who you choose to spend time with likely has a greater long-term impact on your health, wealth, and happiness than almost any other decision you make. Yet, most people will put more conscious thought into the color of their smartphone case.

Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

Three things for you to ask yourself

Which relationships in your life are helping you? Which relationships in your life are hurting you?

In the case of a relationship that is hurting you, what can you do to distance yourself from that person?

Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

Two things for you to try this week

This holiday season, I want to challenge you to do two things. First, think of someone in your life who is a positive influence. Connect with them this week. Bonus points for expressing your gratitude directly to them.

Next, think of someone in your life who is bringing you down or holding you back. Create a rule for yourself with this person: “When they do X, I will/will not respond with Y.”

Some examples:

  • When my ex calls me and tells me she misses me, I will not reciprocate. 
  • When he asks me inappropriate questions, I will simply refuse to answer. 
  • When she makes me uncomfortable, I will tell her to stop. 

Hold to your rule. You might be surprised by the size of the impact it has.

Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went.

Last week’s breakthroughs

Last week’s email was about fear and comfort. Here were some of your breakthroughs.

Long-time reader Brandon has adopted a “fear of regret is higher than fear of failure” mindset of late, with tangible results:

Being comfortable with being uncomfortable has caused immense professional development, caused me to leave relationships that limited my growth, and has inspired me to start a new company and do things I never would’ve been able to before.

And it didn’t take long, but The Breakthrough newsletter has inspired its first broken bone. Biz, a mother on a snowboarding vacation, tells us:

I read this email on a snowboarding holiday with my family. My husband has always snowboarded and my kids were doing amazing and finding it much easier to learn than me. A few days ago I decided to call it quits—too hard to learn in my 40’s. I’m relatively fit so knew I was capable but the fear of injuring myself held me back. Then I read your email.

It made me get back up the mountain. It made me tell my family to go off and have fun and I just went down and up and down and up until I was linking the turns and feeling pretty chuffed that I hadn’t given up.

The reason I’m emailing is to say—that whilst I achieved what I did—I also fell and broke my wrist! First ever broken bone! So—I think my snowboarding days are over (which doesn’t bother me in the slightest) but I can go home saying I didn’t give up thanks to your words, which I’m really happy about despite the resulting injury. My husband laughed at me when I was in the hospital and I blamed it all on you.

I accept all blame and no responsibility. My condolences to your wrist, Biz. Meanwhile, reader Arslan shared a simple rule he lives by that could also be useful to others:

Many years ago, a friend of mine invited me to someone’s party. Honestly, I did not want to go there as I knew almost nobody except my friend, and I knew he would be busy with others. That evening, I met a few wonderful people that became great friends and through them I got to know many other amazing people that added value to my life. So, I articulated a personal rule: Do exactly whatever you don’t want to do or feel lazy about.

Several readers admitted they have always sought comfort over happiness. That they invented excuses to not do what they know they need to do, like leaving jobs or relationships that didn’t make them happy. A few came to the realization they actually find comfort in their anxiety, which is why they’ve made choices in their life that perpetuate anxiety and stress.

To everyone who replied, thank you for sharing your story. Just a few of the actions people took last week: exercising for the first time in years, taking a cold shower in the morning, starting a journaling practice that had been long put off,  initiating a dreaded conversation, asking for a raise at work, leaving a hated job, and more.

Send your breakthroughs this week by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

Until next week,

Mark Manson

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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