If you knew a friend of yours was stealing from you, would you still be friends? Would you still spend time together? Invite them into your home? Of course, you wouldn’t! You would confront them, disassociate with them and probably get a home security system. If someone you knew was stealing from you, you would cut them out of your life because you work too hard to have what is yours taken from you.

Why then, do we let people close to us who are stealing our potential? The good natured, well-meaning people in our lives who want us to live in reality? The people who tell us we can’t do it or, worse yet, that we shouldn’t try? If any of these people were stealing from us, we would end the relationship but since they’re only robbing us of a brighter future, we allow it.

If you knew that doing something every day was draining your bank account and killing your health would you stop? Millions of Americans have quit smoking for these reasons. Still, millions more watch mind numbing television filled with needless violence and negative news.

For most of my life, this perfectly described me. I have been a cable news junkie. I watched them all; CNN, MSNBC, FOX. I even watched Telemundo even though I don’t speak Spanish! I would start every day filling my mind with enough death, disease, and destruction to last a life time and then wonder why I was in a bad mood. This went on for years until one day I watched Jim Rohn on YouTube and his words spoke right to me.

Every day we must stand guard at the gates of our mind.

Jim said that five years from now, we will be the sum total of the people we interact with and books that we’ve read and he encouraged his listeners to take a long hard look at both. That is what he meant by standing guard.

We have people in our lives who love us and want us to do well, they just don’t understand our dreams. We don’t have to cut them out the way we would a thief, but we must control how much of their advice we actually take. Most of us have a box in our homes that deliver us great satisfaction and thrills. We don’t have to hit our televisions with a hammer, but we must control what and how much we watch. These people and these television programs are stealing from us if we aren’t careful and therefore must stand guard.

We owe it to ourselves to keep outside influences from stealing from us. Most of us lock our cars. We lock our homes and some of us carry weapons for protection, yet we leave our greatest asset completely unlocked and unguarded. Five years from now, we will be the sum total of the people we interact with and the books we’ve read. Who will you become?

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