There are many times in our lives in which peer pressure got the best of us. There were several years in my own life in which my convictions were pressure tested to the full max. For me, high school wasn't too pressure tested as I grew up in a small town with a great school, great teachers, and great friends in which the pressures to be a part of negative activities were fairly minimal. But as I got to college, life became much bigger, with many more opportunities to grow, and many other opportunities to take a few steps back. There were plenty of opportunities to be distracted from the formal education, and incorporate some oftentimes informal learning opportunities of the failure or negative variety.
It is up until college that we have our parents and a tribe of caring people to help guide our path, produce our morals, and give us strength in knowing right from wrong. Our parents often serve as the safety net to help keep our bad decisions from being too painful or even lethal. But as we move on in life, we soon learn it is up to us to make all our decisions for our journey of life. With each decision comes an effect on our life, be it positive, negative, or neutral. And there are 3 things we have the opportunity to do each day, regardless of age or where we are in our journey of life. If we can do these 3 things with each decision, with each challenging moment of the day, we will enjoy greater success and fruits of our decision-making labor.
1. Stand by your convictions, your guiding principles, your core values in life. We all have some non-negotiable morals or core values, and they will be tested by someone, by maybe even your leader, a friend, maybe a family member or spouse. When that tough moment arises and you know what is about to happen or the decision may go against your core values, it isn't easy to take a stand and say "No", but if you do, you will feel better at the end of the day.
2. Have the courage to do what is right now what feels good. Peer pressure happens at all ages just not as kids. Many kids are walking around in adult bodies around us each day who make many decisions in the moment of which don't allow them to grow but do allow them to have a good time. And those same people, often are asking you to join them. If you have obligations to your family, your kids or your career and someone are asking you to decide to distract from the most important things in life, then you should have the courage to do what is right, not what might fill your vice. And if someone routinely does this to you, you need to consider moving on from that relationship. All relationships should be based on what is best for the personal growth of you and your success. Having fun is needed, but if it is keeping you from success in all areas of your life, then personal choices and peer pressure may be getting the best of you.
3. Listen to your internal compass. As mentioned above, I wasn't very good at that in my college years and a few years after, as I was often drawn into some self-destructive decisions a number of times. And as I visit with others on those self-destructive moments in time, we typically always knew that moment was going to be potentially not good for us and could be destructive by the lure and the appeal at the time was too formidable to deny. We often do what feels good rather than listen to our internal compass of "right and wrong". The litmus test is, "if mom or grandma wouldn't approve of this decision, then you probably shouldn't do it!"
Applying these 3 "must do's" as we go through our life journey have a great opportunity to help us make good decisions to help us achieve our goals of life. I am imperfect with many flaws and have to work on these 3 objectives every day, and there are some days in which I may do what feels good rather than what is right. But today compared to 10 to 20 years ago, my convictions and personal core values serve as my guiding light and beacon of courage to stand firm in the most challenging situations. If you will just develop them, train that conviction and core value muscle daily, you will look up one day and realize you made so many good choices that have planted your feet on a big mountain of many victories. There will always be valleys of failure and learning opportunities, but those valleys give way to stronger conviction, greater courage, and a more straight internal compass. Do these 3 things, repeatedly!!