You are the average of the five people you most closely associate. This is timeless wisdom that has come up again and again. But what if you are stuck? Stuck in a small town. Stuck in a job. Stuck with your family.
What if there are no inspirational people around? What if the five people that you spend the most time with are complete fuck-tards that you will never learn anything from?
You still have choices.
Stuck in a small town? Move.
Stuck in a job? Leave.
Stuck with your family? Don't visit them; ignore them; practice being tolerant.
If none of these is palatable, remember that we have lots of books accumulated over the course of history and... guess what, it is 2018 and we have the internet. You can surround yourself with virtual mentors who will teach you to think differently than your contemporaries.
Thinking differently can be dangerous. The people you currently have around you might not like that you are trying to better yourself. Well, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Did you think rising to the top would be easy? Just because you want it, doesn't mean they are going to give it to you.
Forget about your current five people and focus on your new five virtual mentors. Work on yourself, your compassion, forgiveness, tolerance. They didn't come into this town, into this job today, or into your life trying to be fuck-tards. How can you help them to help you get to where you want to be?
Some people are hard to change, and you will at some point likely need to break free from them. But at least try. If someone is hurting you to the point that it is stopping you improving yourself then whether temporary or permanently, you need to take a break from them.
This could just be in one area of your life too. Have negative parents? Well they probably mean well so rather than cutting them out of your life, just don't talk to them about that risky venture they will probably disapprove of. What's their issue and what's yours?
This distinction grabbed my attention in a post from @thefabulousjourney
Nothing is as hard as math in high school. Not much else in your life after that requires learning alien concepts.
The rest of your life is solely about putting in the effort.
It is not hard to do the work, it is just working 'hard'. Although there is really no 'hard' about it. It is just being consistent and not giving up.
The only person that can make you fail is you. By quitting.
Whether someone is overly loud or overly quiet, the cause is usually the same.
Lack of self-confidence.
It is just that the loud person appears more confident than the quiet one.
Whichever one you are, the key to success is always to keep working on yourself. And keep trying until you have developed sufficient self-confidence to succeed.
Consistency is king
Ordinary things when done consistently produce extraordinary results
"I tried" means you gave up. If you didn't give up it's a habit. Habits work and you would be there already.
Keep on keepin' on.
As I write this, the UK is waking up to the result of the election that is not as clear cut as some thought.
Maybe the general election results not what you expected. Or maybe they are what you expected. Either way, what are you going to do today that is different from yesterday?
Does it really matter who is in power? Does it really matter what the taxes are? What are you going to do differently or the same?
Are you going to use any changes to add to your growing excuses list? Are you really able to time the market? I say, do what you dream to do and let all the hot air blow around you.
‘Doing’ can make you more robust than any change in power or policy.
Think about the people who bemoan the NHS. Many of them could probably afford to use the increase in personal allowance to get private healthcare (only about £400 per year)?
People who think the government borrows too much? Well, how much personal debt are they in? If the government is fragile, better make your own finances robust and start saving more.
Taxes going up so you'll be worse off? You can always earn more money, save more money. Or you could watch Netflix and complain on Facebook.
Of course, if you really don't like the result, you always have the opportunity to move. But before you do, take chance to be grateful for what you already have. Would you complain less in Syria, North Korea or Somalia?
If you live in the UK you already have it good. There may be people that have more than you, there may be people that have less than you.
Stop complaining and either accept it or do something. There is nothing else.
Any "profession" is rule-based and exam based. Therefore, can be better done by a computer or someone with the same rules that will work for less money than you.
Since the industrial revolution, jobs have gone to machinery, robotics and assembly lines of the cheapest paid worker. Why would it not? There is literally no value in the alternative.
The good advice then was to get a profession and education was the way out and the way up. Now the same thing is happening to office workers. Automation, machine learning, the internet. All much cheaper, more efficient and more effective than humans. But only humans who phone it in, who do the bare minimum, that despise interaction.
Choose a job that is eminently human. Connection, caring, innovation. Those are the jobs for life now, not accountants or traders or production line operators.
The world is changing. And you can either be on the right or wrong side of it. Whilst others are drinking in the middle of the day bemoaning the government, you could be starting a business, learning to sell, building a network.
Remember there is money to be made when the market drops. Circumstance does not matter if you win either way.
Don’t think. Trust yourself.
Just like a rap battle, a corporate Q&A or simply talking to a stranger. Trust yourself that you will be able to speak the words you need to speak. In hindsight, you will not know where they came from, seemingly bypassing rational thought.
If you let yourself see “failure” as okay, then that takes the resistance (as Seth would say) away and you let yourself perform the best you can.
Even better than seeing it as okay, redefine failure so you cannot possibly fail.
Feeling sorry for yourself because you got rejected by that girl at the bar? Well, that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to approach one person that day, and that’s what you did, so you succeeded.
Forgot all your lines and made a bad impression at a work presentation? Well, that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to stand up and speak when no one else volunteered, so you succeeded.
Go easier on yourself. See what happens when you gain momentum from small wins.
There is the adage that you are the average of the five people closest to you. In writings about how to be “successful”, the advice is usually then to cut out the losers and get closer to people that are more successful than you.
If you have a truly toxic influence on your life then I agree, best to distance yourself from them. I have had to do this myself, but in hindsight, I realise that it was my problem rather than theirs. However, the ruthless culling of true friends based on their success is not something that should be encouraged.
Ask yourself, are they really holding you back, or is it just you?
Remember, you don’t have to listen to what other people say. If you cannot distance yourself from negativity and criticism then you are probably not going to have the spoils of the “successful” that can.
Also, remember that you are one of the five too. How much are you trying to pull the others up? Those that have been there for you in the hard times.
As Gary Vee says, there are two ways to build the biggest skyscraper in town. Afford this thinking to your nearest and dearest before you bulldoze everything around you.
Seeking true wisdom seems, to me, like piecing together nuggets of advice that seem paradoxical until you truly understand them for yourself.
The trouble with listening to others alone is that you either get conflicting information or you pigeon hole yourself into one way of thinking. You must internalise what you hear, read, see and make it true to yourself.
Want to be successful? Easy, look for others more than yourself. Or. Easy, be ruthless in going after what you want. Both have been seen to be true, but how can it be so?
Back when I used to run more, we used to joke that it wasn’t the fastest person to run the 10k that won. It was the person that can run the 10k the fastest and still drink the most beers afterwards as that showed that you had balance in your life.
We could have run faster if we did not drink, cut out desserts, trained every day instead of socialising. But the goal was not to win the race at all costs of missing going out, it was to enjoy running.
If the goal was to win an Olympic medal, then clearly our strategy is not enough. People training for that have a singular focus and never give up. Until they give up. Or until they get the medal. Either way, there is a price to other things they could have been doing.
When setting your goals and choosing who to listen to you must decide if that is the person you want to be.
Do you want to be alone? Do you want to be hated? Do you want only fleeting relationships?
Because to get the surface level success that the masses covet, there may be some payoffs your idols had to make that you are not immediately aware of.
Decide what your goal is before you get on the treadmill otherwise it may be tricky to get off. And when you do, you might find you are back where you started in some areas of your life.
Why do anything else? Complaining about others makes you feel worse. Cultivating a habit of seeing the best in people makes you feel better. Assuming everyone else does not know what they are doing makes you take control of your own life.
Assume the best, plan for the worst.
Do your own thing.