“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” – C.S. Lewis

One thing I have noticed about highly successful people is this: They aren’t friends with everyone. They may have a lot of acquaintances, but only a select few make it into the inner circle.  Very often the inner circle is limited to just family members.  Sometimes, it includes a close friend or two.  There is wisdom to that approach.  Even Jesus wasn’t friends with everybody.  He had 12 disciples.  And he was closer to some than to others.

In order to be successful, you must limit who is able to impact your life with their behavior and opinions. If you don’t choose your inner circle carefully, you will be dealing with unnecessary frustration when your time is better spent accomplishing great things and just being happy.

It is important to limit your inner circle to people who are encouragers. Not everyone is capable of doing that.  Most people are very good at being critical.  However, the people in this world who are capable of paying a compliment are few and far between.  It takes a great deal of maturity to be happy about the successes of others.  It takes wisdom to not feel threatened by the talents of others.  Not everyone has those gifts.

So if you have people in your life who encourage you, who are rooting for you, believe me, they are worth their weight in gold. They are the ones who are going to inspire you to keep moving toward your goals, even when you feel frustrated.  Don’t feel badly if you don’t have people like that in your life.  It isn’t necessary.  You have the most important encourager of all – God.  He has created you for a special purpose.  He wants you to succeed.  If you pray for encouragement and guidance, He will supply your needs.  And He likely will put an encourager or two on your path.

It is also important to remember that your inner circle does not have to include certain people just because they are related to you. Your brothers, sisters, parents, uncles and aunts don’t have to be part of your inner circle.  Some family members will want you to be happy, and will gladly help you in any way that they can.  Others will have an agenda that has no purpose beyond creating havoc. While you should be polite and helpful to all your family members, you don’t necessarily have to include them in your most intimate group.

Your inner circle should include people who are older than you. Of course, age doesn’t necessarily result in wisdom.  But people who have a little bit of life experience often can give good advice.  I have had two bosses who both were very wise people.  They gave me good advice when it was obvious that I needed it.  I didn’t always take the advice, but looking back, I can see that I probably should have.  They truly were looking out for my best interests.  Wise people who are older than you will have a perspective that you don’t have yet.  It is worth having them be part of your circle.

This week, consider who you have in your inner circle. Are they the right people?  Are they individuals who are going to help you achieve your purpose on this earth, or are they going to undermine you?  You only have a finite amount of time in which to accomplish God’s purpose for your life.  It is important that you use that time wisely.  So be careful who you allow to be part of your inner circle.  And then make sure that you are being a good inner circle member to those who you hold most dear.

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