Friend to Friend – The Truth Hurts (and Helps)

Friends should be honest with each other, especially with those who are LAZY or not showing enough GRIT in life or MISGUIDED or UNPRODUCTIVE or NOT living up to their potential.

For years with one friend and recently with another, I've attempted to provide a 'wake up call' since they haven’t come close to fulfilling their potential.

The first has taken the constructive criticism and advice well over the years but not the second man.

I have very little faith left in the first man as he has shown zero progress despite good counsel and love from many.  He has had well over a decade of going further and further into the abyss, often chasing one misguided dream after another. He is a dear friend to me and a few in my inner circle although I believe most are getting tired of his unwillingness to find a normal path in life.  His pattern has not worked for a long time so a change is much needed.

It’s important to note that he’s had major success as an American living in Europe - one of the first to move abroad in our core group.  I saw the sizzle daily when I visited him in the 1990’s. It was one of the best European weeks of my life!  Ever since he returned to the USA, that high life has evaporated. It’s a shame as he had what it took to survive and thrive in Europe (not easy to do), yet those qualities have failed to bloom in the USA.  I’ve written about him on several occasions and you can find the articles at the links below:

The second man lives in Sweden and is a good friend who has helped me in several projects. He’s smart, charming and good with kids. In addition, he has a kind heart. By his own admission, he didn’t focus in high school as a star athlete, which probably cost him a top sports scholarship. One of his coaches thought he could have been a professional baseball player.

He’s had success in various European countries with his sports background although I haven’t seen the high energy, supreme focus or effective networking in Sweden – character aspects vital to success in this country. In my opinion, he needs to show more grit and embrace the Swedish culture better than he has. He doesn’t seem to give people a chance to see those qualities other than those close to him.  It’s almost as if he puts up a protective shell when in the company of Swedes or those he doesn’t know.   Without networking well in Sweden or showing one’s true character, it’s almost impossible to succeed at a high level.

It was tough for him to read my recent emails although all the correspondences were sent because I care and want to see him do better. He will understand this more clearly over time.  I expected his defensive reaction as he has never taken kindly to constructive criticism, which probably means he never had much from those close to him.

I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind to a friend, push them to be better, give advice or tell them when they were wrong. Fortunately, my close friends have treated me the same way. Although nobody would say (I hope!) that I am not living up to my potential, there have certainly been moments where the GRIT wasn’t good enough or the effort wasn’t as strong as it should have been……. and friends let me know about it.

There were a few who boldly got in my face and told me to “shape up” or sometimes used harsher words, which was exactly what I needed.  If not for their concern and love, my success in life might have been much less. Their timely input was spot on each time and I’m wiser because of it. 

Friends need to push each other to be better because if not, who will? Do you tell your friends things they don’t want to hear?  The truth often hurts…BUT don’t be afraid to tell it to your friends or anyone you care about, particularly if they are not living up to their potential or not going about life in a productive manner.

These two men should be “shining lights” and they have had some moments in the sun. The first man is only a flicker of light these days, sometimes barely seen. The second has a chance to climb to the brightness only if he is bold enough to show more grit, come out of his shell, embrace Sweden and work harder than he ever has to find a quality job or start his own business. The world is his oyster.

It all comes down to choices.

Will they choose to have a HO HUM life or choose to let that inner beauty flow and live life at a minimum, close to their potential?  I’m optimistic for the latter.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

A wonderful cheese store in Lund, Sweden.

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