It's not enough that we purge negative people and things from our lives; we have to put something in their places. Nature abhors a vacuum, so unless you begin the process of filling it up with positive things, the negative will seep back in and multiply! In spiritual terms we call it backsliding. In terms of addiction, we call it “falling off the wagon.” Anyone who has dealt with purging a demon, literal or symbolic, knows that it is a never-ending battle where you must walk very close to the source of the light lest you end up tumbling back deeper into the infinite darkness. I remember meeting a Marine Colonel when I was in my early 20s. He was tough, as Marine Colonels should be. I clearly recall his comment to me about the importance of disciplining what goes into your mind. He said, as only a Marine can, “Trash in, trash out,” meaning you better watch what you watch on TV, choose carefully which friends you let into your life, and censor your reading list. And he didn’t mean just now; he meant every second of your life.
The battle for the mind is the most important struggle any of us will ever be involved in. If we do not make a continuous effort to fill our minds with good things, evil things will return and multiply with a vengeance. Spend all your time in front of the boob tube, you become a boob. Read trash and you become a trashy trash-talker. My father had a witty way of putting it: “Hang around great people and you’ll be greater person. Hang around givers and you’ll be a better giver. Hang around a bunch of thumb-sucking, complaining, griping boneheads and you’ll be a better thumb-sucking, complaining, griping bonehead.” Don’t let negative influences rent space in your head; they will soon possess your whole body!
The transformation of character begins with the renewal of the mind. Make this the year you decide to make your synapses sizzle with great people and great books. As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” Make sure they are both able to fill the vacant spot between your ears with the best of the best and forget the rest!