Before a boxing match, the boxers are instructed to fight clean and to “protect yourself at all times.” The referee knows that, as much as he will try to keep anyone from getting seriously injured, the boxers have the responsibility for protecting themselves from incoming blows.
This is good advice for non-boxers. Even though you may not have your person attacked, there is a never-ending stream of threats from which you must protect yourself.
Negativity: There is so much negativity coming from so many sources that you must be vigilant and guard yourself against being infected. Some of the negativity comes from the people around you. More than a good bit of it comes from social media, a place where people spend a lot of time complaining and making sure that people know what they don’t like. And there is the media, especially the news. The more of this you take in, the more you risk a serious infection.
Cynics: The cynics recruit like they’re building a cult. They are nihilists. They don’t believe anything has any meaning, and they make sure you know that they think everything is bunk. They will attack you personally and belittle you, preying on your desire to belong, and in doing so, pull you away from people doing meaningful work and drag you into the mire with them.
Those who settle for mediocrity: There are some people who get comfortable too fast. They do just enough to get by, always dabbling, never going all in, and settling for what they get. They don’t know what their real potential is because they like comfort more than growth. They never reach their goals because they don’t have any. The risk for you here is that you will fall into the trap of preferring comfort, which feels like a warm bed when the alarm goes off; it’s difficult to resist the snooze button.
Those who want you to remain you are now: There are some people who love and care about you and who are afraid of losing you. They don’t want you to grow for fear of you will outgrow them. They’ll say you have lost who you really are, that you don’t remember from where it was you came in the first place. These folks want you to succeed, but they become a drag when they begin to fear losing you. You have to protect yourself from lowering the standard you set for yourself to please others. Those who love you wouldn’t want less from you.
Protect yourself at all times.