If your friends don’t make you feel like you’re slacking, you need better friends.” -Scott H. Young
Last weekend I went to a house party in a small town.
I was talking to a perfectly nice and fairly intelligent guy about the importance of mentors in our lives.
And then he casually made some shockingly racist remarks.
At first I thought maybe he was making an ironic joke. But then he did it again. Later, I heard him do it a third time.
What in the hell? This guy wasn’t dumb, he wasn’t an asshole, and he had his shit together enough to have a quality mentor. How could he think in this backward way?
Why You Need To Level Up Your Circle of Friends
I’m assuming that his problem is a lack of exposure. If you live your whole life in a small town, and have zero non-white friends or acquaintances, it must be easy to accept the prevailing “wisdom” of your social circle.
And while it’s easy to point an angry finger at this particular guy for being a racist schmuck, we make the same mistake in our everyday lives, only in subtler and more insidious ways.
How To Live An Average Life
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn
First let me disclaim that there’s nothing inherently wrong with leading an average life.
Right now you’re reading a blog on the internet, which means what’s “average” for you would be unfathomable wealth for 99.99% of people who have ever lived.
But you’re also reading this blog on the internet, which means you’re probably not interested in settling for average.
There is no better way to get above-average outcomes than to hang out with above-average people.
If you want to be a better musician, hang out with people who are better musicians than you.
If you want to be healthier, hang out with people who are healthier than you.
If you want to be better with money, hang out with people who are thriftier than you.
If you want to be smarter, spend more time talking to people who are smarter than you.
The Small Town Problem
But Josh, I don’t know people like that. No one like that lives where I do.
I hear you. Three things on this.
The first thing is that you can’t go directly from where you are to where you’d like to be. If you’re suffocating under credit card debt, you don’t need to talk to Warren Buffet. You just need to find someone who’s doing it better than you and let them influence you. Later, you can level up again. With any luck, they’ll continue growing too, and you can continue to learn from them.
The second thing is that you don’t have to be in close physical proximity for this to work. You can read books and blogs for free (or almost free) and absorb good influences this way.
You can also do wonders by limiting the amount of negative influence you allow others to have on your life. Decline that invitation to have dinner with unhealthy eaters. Unsubscribe from emails from clothing stores and music retailers. Block the negative people in your facebook feed.
It sounds cold blooded, but firing a friend is one of the best life-upgrade strategies around.
What I Want You To Do Right Now
Leave a comment here on this post (and not on FB if that’s where you found this article). Tell us your name. Maybe share a book or blog that influences you.
The internet is just a tool, and it can be used for good or for bad.
Instead of accepting the default setting of letting the news and your facebook feed bring you down, choose to use the tool for good.
The people that read this blog are a tiny tiny community, but we’re all interested in living the good life and making great music.
Let’s be friends.