This weekend I went to a bachelor party and was blown away by the quality of people my buddy has surrounded himself with. Yes, we had some debauchery and yes, I may have “gone to sleep” before dinner started, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of human beings these guys were. If I were lost in the woods I’d want these dudes and my buddy Spelly all there to save me, because I know I’d come out alive. Mainly because of the combined wilderness experience!
These guys got me thinking a lot about “tribe”, the people we surround ourselves with. Mom and Dad used to always say, you are the company you keep. I think I’ve finally realized that in the last few years. Tim Ferriss, whom I’m sure you get sick of me talking about, always says you’re the sum of the 5 people your most surrounded by. I’d like to think this is true on an exponential level, you are the sum of the 5 people, and their 5 people and their 5 people.
We are tribal creatures. We have been for millennia. We first surrounded ourselves for protection. Get the big dude on your side because he can beat someone up if you’re threatened by a beast or another tribe. Keep the smart dude around in case you need to build something. Keep the ugly guy around so your self-esteem is on point!
However today we don’t have those same needs. We’ve moved our way up Maslow’s hierarchy. For those of you who slept through your high school psych classes, Maslow’s hierarchy illustrates our needs from the basics of food and water up through complete self actualization. We’re movin’ on up people! We’ve got this food and water thing down for the most part! Now we’re working through belonging, love, esteem and the ultimate goal of self actualization.
So what does this have to do with your tribe and my buddies bachelor party? As I mentioned before, the quality of person at my buddy’s party was pretty high. In fact, if I were to judge myself against these guys, I’d put myself in the lower quadrant of people there. Now yes, I do have admitted self-esteem issues. However, it also made me very excited and optimistic. They say if you look around a room and you are the smartest guy in the room, it’s time for you to leave the room. I’m seldom the smartest guy in the room and I get to learn and improve a ton as a result!
When in the past, we’d pick our tribes based on brute strength and survival, today we pick them to help us reach a new level of self. We have the ability to pick a tribe that will make us better mentally, physically and spiritually. We can pick a tribe of our choosing, that challenges us, helps us become more successful and allows us to join them for the ride! This is a pretty awesome reality. We get to choose this and it’s a very big personal responsibility.
If done right, your friends will make you a wealthier person. This isn’t necessarily in terms of dollars, although they may challenge you to do so. This is the all-around you. These guys this weekend made me want to get better physically. These guys are athletes that have tracked mountains and rode their bikes through deserts. They are artists who make a living being creative. There are entrepreneurs who build businesses and create jobs. These were high-quality people. I took a lot from this weekend just getting to be around them.
Then I realized, this can be the reality for any of us. You can surround yourself with people that make you want to be the best version of you. This is a very possible and real. As I said, I’m proud to say that I’m seldom the smartest guy in the room. It means I’m going to leave most social situations with value added to my life. I also need to create value when I’m around, so I get invited back!
As grown ups, we can still make friends. I know it’s an odd concept, but why should we be limited to only making friends in college, at work and at the retirement home? Why can’t we spend our most formidable years of adulthood also finding new people and networks? I’m here to tell you that you can! In fact, the most famous of people in the world often spend their time networking with each other. They sit on each other’s company boards, they join each other’s exclusive clubs and they have drinks together to discuss any industry.
Please don’t take this as another Jesse, Be A Grown Up, Ra-Ra. I want you to take action on this. If you are the smartest person in your friend group, go make a few new friends. This doesn’t mean you should leave your friends behind. It just means you are going to need some help to reach the next level. They say in sports, you should find one competitor that’s your equal, one that is better and one you can teach. We can all teach and compete, but sometimes we need to stretch our limits a little more than is comfortable!
Go get your stretch on! Then you may even be able to bring your people along for the ride to help them improve their situation as well! Until then, cheers!