The age old advice
You’ve all heard the wisdom…
“Surround yourself with good people.”
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
“Show me your friends and I will show you your future.”
This advice is served on our podcast more than papadums in an Indian restaurant; yet, like the mysterious Indian waiter that serves you such delicacies, no one really explains how good friendships (or papadums) are made.
- Who are good people?
- How do you find good people?
- How do you become good friends with good people?
The overall advice is sound, but it has been wrapped so tightly into bite-sized quotes that the act of actually finding good friends is clouded in mysterious papadum making wisdom.
I still don’t know how to make a good papadum but I’ve had a think about making good friends…
Finding “good” people
If you have read my articles before, you will know that my simple mind can only deal with basic questions.
So let’s break it down…
Firstly, how do you find people?
In the library, by the beach, in the gym, on the bus, at the zoo, in the park, fighting crime, singing, shaking, moving, making; just look around for Pete’s sake!
There are 7.7 billion people in this world – that’s around 51 per square kilometre of land – if you’re reading this and can’t find people, you’re either a successful crusader living in an isolated getaway with internet access (kudos to you), an evil villain living in an underground bunker with internet access (Mr Bond will be there shortly), or you’re just not looking hard enough!
Finding people isn’t difficult, it’s finding ‘good’ people that’s the challenge.
So, for the next simple question…
Who are good people?
For me, all good friendships entail mutual benefit.
A community that offers collective happiness, prosperity and growth is a community that I want to be involved in! One where I can offer my awesome self and, in return, become awesomer!
‘Awesomer’ – a word that I’ve made up, and a word that relies upon my own definition at any given time!
It doesn’t have to mean personal growth; it can simply mean enjoyment, recreation or love.
The task is to find the right friends FOR YOU, not anyone else!
Rockstars, multi-millionaires and knife juggling contortionists may not share common interests, visit the same places or care for you as others might!
It’s up to you to define what you treasure in a friendship.
Cat litter scientist, Lin Wang, didn’t need to be a millionaire, TV presenter or basketball superstar to become good friends with Charles Barkley, they benefited from each other’s honesty, common stories and good conversation…
A cat litter scientist from Iowa was on a business trip when he spotted Charles Barkley at the bar. https://t.co/kN7BctROiP
— NPR’s Only A Game (@OnlyAGameNPR) December 15, 2018
“Your dad is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life, I’m not just saying that — I mean, think about it: It’s fun to be with your friends, you know? ‘Cause, I don’t have that many friends that I want to be around, to be honest with you. I mean, you know a lot of people. But when you go spend time with your friends, it’s a whole different animal.”
– Charles Barkley on Lin Wang.
Finding people is easy.
Once you define what ‘good’ means to you, just go and speak with people in places you like to hang out.
I know it can be daunting to speak with strangers but don’t overthink it!
It’s as simple as saying (with a smile):
- How are you?
- Have you had a good day?
- What have you been up to today?
Awesome people will respond politely and enthusiastically!
The secret to spending time with “good people”
You can’t just find awesome people and become their friends. It just doesn’t work like that.
The key to surrounding yourself with good people is to START WITH YOURSELF!
Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.
– Mario Quintana
The vast majority of people, especially ‘good’ people, understand the benefits (or hindrances) close relationships can have on their health and prosperity. They’re not going to exhaust themselves with someone who brings them down!
To have awesome friends, you must be awesome yourself!
Awesome doesn’t mean running around in a lycra suit saving lives; it just means offering something others’ value.
Time, energy, support, advice and assistance are much more valuable than education, fame or fortune. Charles Barkley and Lin Wang taught us that!
Finding good people + being the best you = surrounding yourself with good people!
I hope this has unravelled the diluted advice of “surrounding yourself with good people.”
- Find people – Easy!
- Find good people – You define ‘good.’
- Be a good person – Offer something people value.
Do some self-reflection and ask yourself – “What value can I add?”
Once you add value to others, others can add value to you, and this wheel of reciprocation makes the journey so much more enjoyable!
So if anyone knows how to make a good papadum, holla!