As I always say, I really do believe that I have the best group of friends that a guy could ask for. I use friends as a shorthand, but I really mean it to include everyone who surrounds me, including my wife and my family. The people in my life are truly incredible, and a day doesn't go by where I don't think about how lucky I am to have them in my life.
Across a lot of dimensions they're very different, but most or all of them have a few core things in common. I first realized this many years ago when I was so busy with Sett that I no longer had time to just hang out with everyone all the time. I thought about all the people I was friends with and wanted to become better friends with and distilled down what they had in common.
By far the top quality that is shared with everyone is that they are all very genuine and authentic. That can mean a few different things, but I mean it to say that none of them try to put on a front and pretend that they're someone they're not. They know who they are and they accept it.
This feels normal to me now, because I spend very little time with strangers, but on the rare occasion I spend time with someone who isn't as authentic it is plainly obvious immediately and I notice how much effort it takes for me to accomodate the difference. Someone who puts on a front is generally doing it to mask a big insecurity, and that insecurity needs to be walked around in conversation.
Everyone in my life is also kind. They're kind in different ways, but the common thread is that all of them genuinely care about and are invested in others' success. Maybe they spend time mentoring people in business, maybe they support their families, or maybe they give food to homeless people because they can't stand to see them hungry. Because they are all genuine, their kindness comes from a sincere desire to help, not a desire to be seen as a kind person.
They are also all supportive and positive. If someone has some crazy new business or venture, there's no worry that that person might be shining too brightly or abandoning the principles of the friend group. Instead people tend to rally to try to help the other person figure out how best to succeed, and flaws in the plan are brought up with compassion with an eye towards fixing them.
The last trait they all share is really a variation on the previous one, but everyone in my life is open-minded. I've done a lot of weird zigs and zags in my life, and I've been surprised how many people have been there with me. Lots of them moved to Las Vegas or bought other properties with me, some went to ballet or tea class with me, most of them have visited Budapest with me. It's very liberating to be able to come up with an idea and know that at least some subset of my friends will probably be open to it and join me.
We all have different preferences, but these qualities seem like a decent blueprint for someone to follow if they're looking for a filter with which to screen people they meet, or if they're looking for traits to cultivate within themselves.
I'm so grateful for everything in my life, but more than anything I'm grateful for the people in it.
Photo is a tea ceremony class in Hilo Hawaii. My friends Brian and Todd are on the left.
Yesterday there was a story about me, my RV, and my friends on the front page of the SF Chronicle site. The article was really nicely written and very positive about the whole RV thing. Hundreds of comments were left on the post, and 95% of them were negative. The negativity was absolutely astounding. I could hardly believe how many people spent the time to sign up and leave vitriolic comments.
Amongst the criticisms and rants that I thought were pretty unfounded, one was hard to argue with: this guy is a narcissist!
Although I think it's important to be emotionally unaffected by baseless negativity, that doesn't automatically mean that all negative comments are baseless. I mean, they do have a point: I wear a silver necklace with my name on it. So I'm a narcissist. I like to think that I'm not a really bad narcissist, but maybe that's like an alcoholic pointing out that he's not the biggest alcoholic on the planet .
As a blogger I think that it's important to write about failures as well as successes, high points as well as low points. Maybe in this spectrum there's also room for things that I'm unsure of, like narcissism.
Just got a comment on "Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" by a reader. He asked one of the hardest questions about becoming successful - what happens when you're improving when your friends aren't?
I found this blog because I'm looking for advice. I've realized four years ago that I was unhappy with myself. I lived a poor, and dead end life. So I decided to look closely at my lifestyle and eliminate some bad habits and replace them with good ones. I also got a second job to make more money, and lived in relative poverty by choice. And it worked! I'm healthy financially and I've gotten a chance to learn anything I've wanted to know. I'm strong and smarter than I used to be. I think I know what God is, and everyday I work to be better than the day before. But, I can't connect with my old friends because they do all the things I dont want to be a part of any more, because they dont care to do well for themselves as much. In a way, to put it bluntly, they're not usefull to me. I'd rather make friends with people I truely admire and respect. I dont feel like I can tell them that I basically think they're bad people. They've done nothing to harm me personally, but I want nothing to do with them. What do you think?
Indeed, that's one of the hardest parts about becoming successful.
Most people don't like to change after they get established. If you improve quickly, it can upset and turn off old friends and cause breaks in friendship.
Perhaps the worst time is when you're still on a shaky ground with your old improvement. I remember one time, I was going through a super healthy kick. Lots of gym, weights, very clean and healthy diet. But with one of my buddies, we always ate junk food together when we got together. Pizza, chicken wings, burgers and fries, stuff like that.