We’re all told the importance of surrounding ourselves with great people.
You’ve heard quotes like, ‘you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’, or, ‘you become who you surround yourself with.’
And there’s a lot of truth to these statements.
The big problem is that for the majority of us, we don’t actually have people like that around us.
As entrepreneurs and go-getters, we are the exception to the norms. WE are the big thinkers. And because of that, the people that are just naturally around us often drag us down by default – even if it’s completely unintentional.
And while we all should be taking steps in order to build our network by going to events and meeting up with other big thinkers, that isn’t always possible.
In this article, I’m going to share with you a strategy I’ve used for the last 10 years that’s changed my life. It’s something you can start immediately after leaving this article and will start showing its effects almost immediately.
Online Connections Don’t Have To Go Two Ways
If you can’t meet people in person, the next best option is to build connections with other people online. Networking online really isn’t that much different than networking offline.
But sometimes even that can be a bit of a struggle, and it loses its power unless you can actually talk to people regularly.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative: virtually surround yourself with exceptional people, in the form of consuming their content religiously.
Reading their articles is great, but it’s even better to listen to their voice or see them on video.
If you consume someone’s content content enough – especially with something like or audio or video, these people will rub off on you. They will change the way that you think and even physically change your brain just from being exposed to them and their philosophy towards life.
It’s no different than how being around negative, depressing people can contribute to you becoming depressed.
Your brain, for the most part, doesn’t easily distinguish what’s real and what’s exposed to you on a screen. This is why we can have intense emotional responses to movies, even though we aren’t actually experiencing what the characters are going through, and even if we already know what’s going to happen next.
Isn’t that interesting?
Simply by consuming the content of great people, you inherit some of their drive, their ambition, their values, their positivity, and their mindset.
You Become What You Consume
You know how they say you are what you eat? The same idea applies to your mind… what you feed your mind with shapes the entire way you perceive the world.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this. I’ve gone through periods of depression in my life, and it’s interesting. I started looking for negativity everywhere in my life so I could reaffirm the lies I had told myself – things about how life wasn’t worth living, everybody is selfish, I am worthless, I’m a failure, stuff like that.
I started hanging out with people that also loved to complain and when I wasn’t, I was listening to depressing emo music in my headphones.
Now tell me, how the heck is someone supposed to start seeing life from a better angle, when just about everything he listens to contradicts that viewpoint?
It doesn’t work.
It wasn’t until I started getting better that I realized just how bad this was.
Eventually, I discovered the power of having coaches and mentors. Granted, I couldn’t afford to actually hire these people one-on-one, but I began consuming their material as if they were my personal teachers.
One person that had a particular impact on me and arrived at just the right point in my life was Grant Cardone. He used to publish a lot of great podcasts and videos on personal development and mindset that really helped shape the way I was thinking – it was the total opposite of everything I was exposed to at the time.
And I found when I listened to him speak, I felt a lot better. I started to push harder on my work, which led to better results. Those better results further motivated me, and I began the upward spiral of getting my life back on track.
Now that I was feeling great and becoming my best self, it was easier to spot negativity and squander it before it infected me. This is when the lesson actually kicked in.
Around the same time, my father started watching the news religiously. Political opinions aside, we all know the news channels are designed to influence how you think. I watched my dad become instilled with fear, shown what to care about, who to hate, what to fear. He’s doing a lot better now, but it literally felt like was spending his entire life preparing for something bad to happen. That’s no way to live. I can’t help but wonder if he would’ve experienced a similar transformation to my own, if he had only replaced who he had surrounded himself with (in this case, the news anchors) with someone more positive.
Now even if you find one person or one source that can really help you, it’s unlikely you’ll agree on all of their viewpoints. And you shouldn’t.
But find a few key people who you really connect with, and go deep in on their content. Get into a habit of listening to them while you do other things, as if they were actually spending time with you in person.
Everything about them – both the good and the bad, will start affecting and changing you as well.
A Few Suggestions
In terms of who I suggest, I think it’s really important to look at people’s values and character and ask yourself, ‘who would I like to become more similar to?’
What drew me to Grant Cardone was his book The 10X Rule – it really pushed me to think bigger and set bigger ambitions for my life. You have to dig back a few years, but there is still a lot of fantastic content available that I still relisten through today.
Gary Vaynerchuk gave me a lot of good perspective on empathy, gratitude, and the importance of service.
Andy Frisella’s way of thinking helped me to become more disciplined and focused.
These were people that I felt resonated with, at least at certain points of my life. Today I subscribe to dozens of fantastic podcasts and try to make sure I’m listening to at least one hour of new perspective a day – especially since all of these people are doing better than I am right now.
This Only Works If You Also Cut Out The Negative
When you start growing and setting out to become a better person, you become a threat to almost everyone around you.
Your success literally makes them feel bad about themselves – it highlights their mediocrity, it draws attention to the fact they could do more, but they aren’t.
I met my wife online and shortly after getting together in person, we started watching many of the same training programs together that I would normally watch on my own.
In a matter of days, her mother was on her case with statements like,
“You think you’re better than everyone now?’ and “Those rich pricks are all scammers, I hear what you’re listening to, it’s all stupid.”
When you’re close to someone – family and friends, you take that stuff to heart.
The problem is, their negativity cancels out a lot of what you gain from other people.
This is why you have to be so protective of who you let influence your mind.
Don’t cut people out of your life for the sake of doing so – do it because you do not have room for anything that drags you down.
Making a conscious effort to surround yourself with bigger thinkers and listen to them daily- even if it is only virtually over the internet, will have a huge impact of your life.
While you can start feeling better almost immediately, the real effects start to kick in after a few weeks of trying this out.
If you want to continue transforming the way you think and feel, be sure to check out my success mindset course. It contains everything I know from studying the world’s most successful people.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister