Half way through another night’s run I entered into the open and saw someone in the distance walking toward me. Along with the cars passing by, I used that as motivation to keep moving. The space was continually closing between us, but I still didn’t have a good mark on who it was. Sure enough, the moment we were a foot’s distance of each other he raised his head – his face illuminated by the phone in his hands. We recognized each other, high school friends turned acquaintances. Each moving in opposite directions, not wanting to stop, we were pushed on by our own inertias. Although I began to slow down and look back, it wasn’t reciprocated; it took the span of a second for me to realize to keep moving - in the run and in life. I had contacted the same individual a couple weeks back, to catch up – to talk business, but to no avail. In retrospect I’m happy the proposition didn’t materialize, I hadn’t thought it over. I was moving off of emotion instead of strategy. Don’t waste your time with people that don’t respect your time, your company, and your contribution.
Aim for a push-pull dynamic that motivates and moves each party forward, instead of one that simulates crabs in a bucket. Accomplish this by surrounding yourself with three equal parts of:
- People that truly listen and that you can therefore mentor (usually younger).
- Peers that understand the adversity you have to face because they’re in the trenches with you facing similar battles (usually within your age range).
- Individuals with more experience than you that you can learn from (usually older).
Split your time equally each day between the three levels and your personal growth will increase substantially - by way of helping, maintaining camaraderie, and by continually learning. Measure your social circle, and see how it influences your growth. Measure it again, and observe how that growth contributes to your happiness. Finally, cut out the social form you desire. Iron sharpens iron; you and your friends sharpen each other. Don’t be afraid to cut out the cancer in your social life before it spreads to your thoughts, your actions, and the consequent habits that shape your life.
1. I admit that I tend to be late, not by a large margin but it’s still a problem – I’m consistently trying to better myself in that arena. Arriving late, no matter how late, is an indicator of other problems in your life. Finding out those sources is the first step toward curing chronic lateness. I found out about Graham though this Ryan Holiday post.
2. Keep in mind that you can learn from anyone, age doesn’t hold that restriction over you. Lincoln said that he learned from everyone he met. Michael Jordan had the humility to listen to anyone that could advise him to his game. It’s in discerning what knowledge you should keep in mind that’s the important part of the conversation, not their position in relation to you. The mentioned perspective on the three social levels you surround yourself with was brought to my attention by Tai Lopez and his 67 step program (specifically step 4) – he calls it ‘The Law of 33%’.
3. I don’t mean to take the humanity out of friendship and the process that goes into creating a fruitful one. Such a creation cannot be calculated and pieced backed together like a science experiment. But by knowing what each person wants out of the relationship, and helping each other develop those goals represents a progressive change that lets us experience the better half of humanity.