Drop Out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club

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Ain’t it awful!

Have you ever noticed how people that complain often tend to spend time with others that complain too? Similarly, people that look for the positive in their lives tend to associate with others that focus on the positive. Once you notice this, you can use it to decide which group you want to be in.

“There are two types of people – anchors and motors.
You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors
because the motors are going somewhere and they’re having
more fun. The anchors will just drag you down.”

– Wyland (world-renowned marine artist)

Principle #25 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is “Drop Out of the ‘Ain’t It Awful’ Club… And Surround Yourself with Successful People.” The two phrases go together well – you become like the people you spend the most time with.

This is the first principle within Part Two of the book – Transform Yourself for Success. This part of the book can be summarized by the words of William James “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.

Exiting the Ain’t it Awful Club

The good news about this is that you can decide to change if you are currently in the “ain’t it awful” club. Here are a couple of simple things you can do.

Be selective about who you spend time with. Jack mentioned how he simply stopped going into the teacher’s lounge while teaching history at a Chicago high school. The room had a cloud of emotional negativity that he wanted to avoid. He eventually discovered a group of dedicated teachers spending time in the library because they also wanted to avoid the “ain’t it awful” club in the teacher’s lounge.

Avoid toxic people. Some people embrace a victim mentality instead of taking 100% responsibility for their lives. You won’t change them. It’s best to just avoid them. As an example, I occasionally hear from people that passed the Security+ exam after using the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide and/or study packages on the premium site, but instead of being grateful, their message is filled with complaints. I congratulate them, thank them for their feedback, and let it go.

Surround Yourself with Successful People

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”

– Vince Lombardi

Here are a few things you can consider to meet and interact with successful people.

  • Attend professional conferences.
  • Join a professional association and get involved with it.
  • Attend a Toastmasters International meeting and join if it appeals to you.
  • Join your local chamber of conference or one of the many civics groups in your community.

Sometimes you need to get creative if you want to surround yourself with successful people. For example, John Assaraf realized that many successful people in the community center where he worked, regularly spent time in the sauna. He got into the habit of going there every night when he got off work and listening to successful businessman share their stories. He sometimes talks about this as his own private business school.

Another way to get creative is with a mastermind group. Napoleon Hill wrote about mastermind groups in his book Think and Grow Rich and he defined it as “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” It can be a simple as finding successful people in your chosen field and asking if they are willing to meet on a regular basis. You can do it on the phone in a conference call, via Google Hangouts or Skype, or in person.


You are the average of the five people
you spend the most time with.”

– Jim Rohn

Is your circle of friends and associates filled with anchors or motors? Is the average of the five people you spend time with more of an anchor that drags you down or a powerful motor taking you somewhere while you all are having fun?

About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.

Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.

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