Translation for my 15 year old self hearing this over and over from my mother: surround yourself with better people. This sounds straight forward, but it’s a deeper issue and has more implications than you can imagine. What actually brought this home is a quote that Tim Ferriss hits on quite a few times in his podcast:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”–Jim Rohn
It took me a while to actually digest this quote. It’s hard to actually analyze yourself and who you surround yourself with. Whether that’s by choice or it just happens, you have to be able to step back and get your ego out of the way.
“You ride with horse thieves, you die with horse thieves.“-My Mom, probably from an old western movie.
I never really understood why my mom would say this all the time, but I get it now. My friends in high school weren’t horse thieves so I dismissed this whole idea. I was guilty of being a little too literal, but I was in high school so I’ll give myself a break. But you are who you surround yourself with.
My high school friends got into smoking cigarettes on lunch breaks, skateboarding rather than sports, making fun of people who were trying their best, and drinking beer on the weekends. So naturally that’s what I was doing. That’s what the last two years of high school looked like and looking back, I was riding with horse thieves. Actually even worse than horse thieves, they were stealing my vision of the future, my motivation, my health, and put my life on a different trajectory. Sounds terrible, but when that’s what your five closest friends are doing, you take that on.
I’m not some mope that was just following people around, to be fair, I was guilty of influencing them too. I like to think that I’m a strong and independent thinker now, but I’m more influenced by my surroundings and who I’m with than I care to admit.
The difference is that I now know it. I try to interact with people I look up to as much as as possible. I start my day with a podcast during my morning coffee, I make sure to have it be something motivational, something positive, something that I can leverage throughout the day.
This sounds weird but I’m using podcasts and audiobooks as a way of surrounding myself with inspirational people. I’m getting a heavy dose of that in the morning while enjoying a strong cup of coffee and the sunrise.
I get through my coffee and I’m ready CRUSH the day.
But to get back to the main point here, we need to surround ourselves with people who build us up and stay away from thieves.
This is harder than ever during a pandemic, sometimes I just want connection and will talk to anyone about anything. But it’s more important than ever to have people you look up to in your close circle. If you’re not feeling better after you see somebody during the pandemic then don’t fucking see them. It’s a pain in the ass to see anyone, you are basically risking your health every time you hang with someone.
Don’t hang with assholes. If you feel like you’re drained after seeing someone, that’s a clue to avoid them next time. Life’s too short, we can’t say yes to seeing every person that asks anymore.
“Hell yes, or no.”Derek Sivers
We got to get rid of the middle ground. I struggle with this because I’m too nice and, like everyone, I am a social being. But over time we have found ourselves slowly backing out of anything with anyone we aren’t a hell yea on. Covid changes this, and we now prioritize. I urge you to evaluate who is in your circle and get closer to the ones building you up and back away from anyone that’s holding you back.
Better friends, better life.
Let’s get after it!