We’ve all heard the phrase; you are who you surround yourself with. Is this fortune cookie wisdom or an absolute truth to live by?
Well, it’s not so black and white. It’s not as clear-cut as, “If you have five broke and lazy friends, then you’re undoubtedly going to become the 6th.”
But if you landed on this article, my guess is that you’re on some sort of a mission in life.
You’ve always felt destined to live an uncommon life.
You don’t quite know where it comes from, but you feel like you’re more driven, ambitious, and goal-oriented than the people around you.
To some extent, we all feel these urges. But it’s actually rarer than you think to feel these things, and here’s a recent story that illustrates this
About a month ago, I was in the car with someone who’s been my best friend since 2018.
We were talking about the usual things friends talk about, and then the conversation got deeper.
We started talking about how quickly time has gone by and what we wanted our life to look like in 10-15 years.
I told him that I wanted to be one of the most respected figures in the personal development space. I told him that I wanted to leave a legacy and dedicate my life to helping others reach their full potential.
And of course, I told him that a part of me wanted everything that came along with that too:
- Status and influence
- The love and adoration of others
- More money than I know what to do with
- The ability to travel the world and only answer to myself
He looked at me and said:
“I feel like we’re so different. My goals don’t really align with that at all. I don’t really want to make millions of dollars or be a well-known figure. I feel like my definition of happy is making 200k-300k a year, with a lakehouse in Michigan, and a beautiful family around me.”
I stopped in my tracks and reflected on that for a second before replying:
“Dude, I think that’s awesome. Everyone has different definitions of happiness. And if that’s yours, I hope that you get exactly what you want.”
This is where I think the whole “you are who you surround yourself with” message falls flat.
Conventional wisdom says that given my goals, I should only be spending time around hungry, ambitious people who are looking to leave a legacy.
The most important question to ask yourself is not, “Are the people around me successful?”
The real question is, “Are the people around me happy?”
You don’t need to surround yourself with success, you need to surround yourself with happiness and joy.
You may feel like happiness is being an entrepreneur with the freedom to travel wherever you want, millions in the bank, and no spouse or kids.
One of your friends might define happiness differently; a modest income to provide for their family, a house in the mountains, and a loving marriage with six kids.
Don’t cut out people simply because their definition of happiness doesn’t match yours.
If they’re content with their life, having them by your side will be a net positive.
Not to mention, some of the people that live the life you want are f**kin miserable, and would trade their wealth in a heartbeat for an hour of inner peace.
Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to meet exceptionally successful people if you have a ton of ambition.
You should absolutely do so, just don’t go overboard with this stuff.
Don’t cut people out of your life simply because there’s a mismatch between your goals and theirs.
That’s how you lose friends who would do anything for you.
And you’ll need those people around you when the storms of life come your way.
How To Surround Yourself With Better People
Who you surround yourself with matters, and you should always be seeking out people who will add value to your life.
So I’ll close this article with a few simple tips for building a strong support system and surround yourself with the right people.
Tip #1: Location, Location, Location.
Think about the type of people that you want in your circle — where are they spending their time? The closer you are in proximity to those places, the more likely you are to come across them.
If you want to be around people who prioritize their fitness, sign up for a gym membership, join a crossfit class, or find a weekly yoga session in your area.
If you want to improve your social skills, go to places where outgoing people usually congregate. Find things to do in your area that align with your interests. Hit the bars near you and start conversations with other people there.
Put yourself in the best possible position to meet your tribe, and opportunities will follow.
#2: Build Your Social Courage
Meeting new people is hard, especially if you’re an introvert. It takes a little something called social courage:
People who have social courage usually have all of the following attributes as well:
- They are unapologetically themselves in social environments
- They can hold conversations and connect with people
- They can handle social pressure and diffuse situations.
- They have the social intelligence to understand someone’s intentions.
You need these skills if you’re going to develop a rich network of people who have your back.
My advice? Be brutally honest about where your social skills are at. If social courage is something you lack, set aside time to work on it daily.
Call your friends and catch up with them. Try new things and gain experience in unfamiliar environments. Start conversations with strangers and learn how to connect with them.
All of these actions will make finding the right people a much easier task.
#3: Leverage Your Current Network
You don’t always need to look far to start spending time with the right people.
Do you know people who embody some of the traits you want?
Even if you aren’t best friends with these people now, you already have the benefit of familiarity.
Start taking the initiative and make plans with these people. Don’t go through life expecting people to reach out to you.
Meeting the right people is just like any other pursuit — it takes discipline, effort, and consistency.
Accept the burden of finding things to do, organizing plans, and growing closer to other people.
Act on the world instead of letting it come to you.
That’s how you end up surrounded by happy, loyal friends who would do anything for you.
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