We humans walk through life encountering thousands of people, online and off, sometimes we say hello and sometimes those people are ignored, but we still walk by them or see their screen names online. While each of these people are individuals who have different thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes, nearly all humans fall under one of four categories I call, “anchors, keys, snakes, and fish.” I have learned that those we interact with fall under one of those categories almost each and every time.
Once individuals understand each of the four categories of people, they can begin assessing their lives and those who are a benefit and or hindrance to their personal growth. Once you understand how to use this simple tool, you’ll immediately begin seeing people beyond their exterior and be able to discern their intentions toward you far easier. To remember the anchors, keys, snakes, and fish, just remember AKSF and you should be able to remember what each letter means after reading here.
An anchor is a person who is both comforting and destructive, comforting as they hold one back into their comfort zone and make it welcoming, and destructive because they will do everything in their power to keep you from stepping outside of that realm, growing or changing. While initially, they may seem to be great, they might keep you grounded, and they might help you to stay focused on one or two things, but they will work diametrically towards any actual growth you may try to approach. They will keep you where they themselves are most comfortable and if you begin to step outside of that comfort zone, they will begin to grow concerned and will work to bring you back.
Much like an anchor on a boat, they will keep you and your life stationary and in limbo, restricting you from moving forward. Sometimes it is friends, or family, sometimes it is a lover, but it is almost always someone who believes their efforts are well-intentioned, even if they are not beneath the surface. Sometimes they will guilt you into staying in one spot, and sometimes they will threaten you, but it will almost always be an emotional plea intended to keep you at the same level, in the same place, as they are and feel comfortable.
So, how do you deal with an anchor, especially if it is someone you care about? Well, the answer isn’t easy because it requires tact and caring; if it were someone you didn’t care about, you could simply shoo them away and be done, but what if it was a friend or family member? this is a conundrum that requires you to speak out of love, even when your inner dialog is screaming at you in frustration.
Here are some examples of ways to handle an anchor amongst friends and or family;
- Understand that they may be well-intentioned in what they say or do, even if it is something detrimental to you moving onward and upward in the world. Try explaining that it’s your life and while you appreciate their input, you have to do what you feel in your heart, is right for you.
- Assure them that your choices do not exclude them from your life, and in fact, may enrich the relationship in the long run.
- Keep them updated on your progress, and show them that your choices are making a difference and that they aren’t excluded from those aspects of your life. This is important because it shows that you aren’t disregarding them, that you’re just doing your own thing, living your own life.
Keys are people who help you in some way, they give an ear to listen, they promote your work, they are supportive, and they are cheerleaders in your life who encourage and support your growth and positive decisions. Keys are “key players,” in your life who are invaluable and beneficial companions throughout life. Keys make life better, as they are a continual source of caring, inspiration, and motivation.
When you meet or know a key, you want to be around them, you want to spend time with them because the time spent feels enriching to the spirit and positive towards your growth. Keys are people who will, generally speaking, be as excited about your successes as you are. Keys bring out the best in you, they make you want to do and be better because they exude what is best in humanity.
Snakes are predators, treacherous, disloyal to anyone or anything that isn’t beneficial to them, crawling below the radar of their prey whom they are looking to take advantage of whenever possible. Snakes are untrustworthy because they are self-serving and often self-entitled and will take until all a person has left is the clothing on their back. Snakes will also often be a drain emotionally on others, making every effort seem like a futile endeavor, regardless of how noble or rewarding it is.
Snakes will undermine you to gain something, and if you call them out on it, they will make it seem as though you are the problem and not them. If you deal with a snake, know that they are ruthless and if given a chance and reason, would destroy you and cause you to lose everything and everyone in your life, if it can garner them something. Snakes are manipulative, cruel, and often without remorse when it comes to gaining something, or harming those they feel have slighted them.
Fish tend to swim with the crowd, they settle for fitting in and mediocrity and try their damndest to just be another cog in the machine of life. This is not a bad thing as many fish are content with just that, a life swimming with the current, in a school of others doing much the same. The one problem with fish is that they are often naive to the world beyond their school and often are the target of predatory people and groups.
Another issue with fish is that because their lives are so insular, they cannot see things from outside perspectives or anything from outside of their comfort zones. Fish see life as survival rather than genuinely living, they are the proverbial 9 to 5 workers who make up a majority of society et al. They work, pay bills and taxes, watch their TVs, have “their,” team in whatever sports they enjoy, and read the mainstream news daily, that is the whole of their existence and they are fine with that.
Fish aren’t positive or negative and honestly, they are a necessity to keep society and the machine of the economy running. Fish are the most common people you’ll meet in the world, in every society, in every grouping of people, there are fish.
Anomalies are individuals who either do not fit the mold of the aforementioned, or who are a combination of two or more of the aforementioned. These are rare individuals who must be known over time to understand wherein they fit into this schema. Sometimes an anomaly can be a blessing and sometimes a curse nearly worse than a snake, and sometimes still, an anomaly can just be in a period of transition from one state to the next.