Culture: A Way Of Life?

When we hear the term “culture,” we typically associate it with organizations or society, seldom do we consider it in terms of the way we’ve structured our daily lives.


This blog was prompted by recent discussions about two groups with which I’m associated. One is my mastermind group, six individuals; the other is a group comprised of 26 individuals.

The discussions centered around the common values that the members of each exhibit and the palpable positive energy that exists within both groups as a result of that commonality.

The discussions made me realize that the daily environment in which we live is a matter of choice. We choose the life we experience by the choices we make in terms of whom we interact with most often in our lives. It’s been said in many ways: we become who we associate with.

Culture: A way of life

Which culture are you choosing? Are you aligning yourself with confident, results-oriented, action-oriented people with a “can do” mentality? Or are you surrounding yourself with people who feel that they are victims, feel that they possess little talent, that what they desire is yet, and always will be, another unfulfilled dream?

Given that everything in life is a spectrum, there are a vast array of points between these opposite ends of the spectrum. Becoming aware of whether you’re closer to one end or the other will help you make future choices about with whom you want to associate.

For you

If you are nearer the positive end of the spectrum, keep dong what you’re doing. You are surrounding yourself with people who help elevate you throughout your life just as you are helping them elevate themselves. You treat people who aren’t of this culture with kindness and respect, but limit your association with them; not maliciously, but out of awareness that those with whom you interact influence your mental and emotional state.

If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum and you’re not happy with your life, make a conscious choice to associate with more positive people. It’ll take courage, but be candid with them that you aren’t happy with your outlook and life and you want to become more like them. You’ll find the person more than willing to help you enjoy a richer, fuller life. 

Beware, they will regularly check to see whether you’re putting forth the effort to change. If you’re not, they’ll quickly abandon the effort because they know that nothing happens when they care more than you do.

Of course, if you possess a victim mentality and choose not to make the effort to change, you are accepting the life you have. On some subconscious level you are enjoying being a victim. That’s tragic because you have so much to offer the world and it’s being wasted because you have chosen that culture as your way of life.

For our kids

First and foremost, live this message. Choose a culture for yourself that helps elevate you and all around you. Kids will mimic your behavior and experience the joy it affords which, in turn, encourages them to repeat these behaviors.

When kids seem to be developing a victim mentality, remind them that it’s up to them to develop their own support system. They can choose to surround themselves with people who feel that they are victims and, in doing so, choose a life (a culture) of unhappiness. Or they can choose to align themselves with people who believe that everything is possible with hard work and perseverance and enjoy a life of joy and fulfillment, a sense of being valued and valuable. It’ll help them evaluate their friendships in a new light.

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2 Responses

  1. Bill Prenatt

    Dale, Thank you for your amazing insights into culture!
    When we ask ourselves why would we ‘choose’ to be anything but happy and joyful. It is important to remember that our brain hardwiring may be working against us. We can appear effortless in our quest for a positive life, at times it does require effort on our part.

    • dfurtwengler

      Couldn’t agree more, Bill. Effort is required for any worthwhile activity. The more the hardwiring against us, the more effort is required. My personal challenge was being shy and insecure in my youth. It took me around 20 years to overcome that hardwiring to the point that I start conversations with strangers in elevators. But it was worth every bit of the effort because now I am not only living true to my extrovert nature, I’m better equipped to help others overcome their struggles…adding to the joy I experience.

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