We are very susceptible to the influence of the people around us. For instance, you may have known somebody who has gone overseas for a year or so and has returned with an accent perhaps. We become part of our immediate environment. None of us are immune to the influences of our own world and let us not kid ourselves that we are untouched by the things and people in our life.
Fred goes off to his new job at a factory. Fred takes his ten-minute coffee break, but the other workers take half an hour. Fred says, “What’s the matter with you guys?” Two weeks later, Fred is taking twenty-minute breaks. A month later, Fred takes his half hour. Fred is saying “If you can’t be them, join them. Why should I work any harder than the next guy?” The fascinating thing about being human is that generally we are unaware that there are changes taking place in our mentality. It is like returning to the city smog after some weeks in the fresh air. Only then do we realize that we’ve become accustomed to the nasty smells. Mix with critical people and we learn to criticize. Mix with happy people, and we learn about happiness. What this means is that we need to decide what we want from life and then choose our company accordingly. You may well say, "That is going to take some effort. It may not be comfortable. I may offend some of my present company." Right, but it is your life. Fred may say, "I’m always broke, frequently depressed. I’m going nowhere and I never do anything exciting." Then we discover that Fred’s best friends are always broke, frequently depressed, going nowhere and wishing that life was more exciting. This is not coincidence, nor is it our business to stand in judgement of Fred? However, if Fred ever wants to improve his quality of life, the first thing he'll need to do is recognize what has been going on all these years.
It’s no surprise that doctors as a profession suffer a lot of ill health, because they spend their life around sick people. Psychiatrists have a higher incidence of suicide in their profession for related reasons. Traditionally, nine out of ten children whose parents smoke, smoke themselves. Obesity is in part an environmental problem. Successful people have successful friends, and so the story goes on.
Q19 What does the speaker say about us as human beings?
Q20 What does the speaker say Fred should do first to improve his quality of life?
Q21 What does the speaker say about the psychiatrists?