There are a number of times when I am drawn to the the art of writing in order to document consistent trends in the way I think. For the past few months I have begun to contemplate the effects that those you surround yourself with and those you avoid has on your personal development. Equally if not more importantly I would like to also address the effect of sharing thoughts with those who are kind enough to listen has on you. I am incredibly driven by progress. Accomplishing goals and meeting seemingly impossible expectations shares a similar spot in my heart to the adrenaline rush people get when they go skydiving. Lets break these ideas down.
Surround yourself with greatness.
It is no hidden fact of life that surrounding yourself with the people you want to become will have a tremendous effect on your personality and your ability to become more like the people you are around. There are quite a few phrases that represent this very idea. I wholeheartedly agree with the thought, but it has its dilemmas. I have met one too many people who want to surround themselves with people they admire by name dropping them with hopes that the echo of their name will resonate through the corporate ladder and somehow get you a job as your heroes’ best man. Yeah, that’s not how it works. Great people are doing great things. You do not and will never need great people in order for you to be great. In order to surround yourself with great people, you could be hopeful and get lucky wiggling your way in some job or academic setting to get there, but you may as well stand outside the World Cup Final outside the stadium hoping that someone gives you a ticket. If you beg without merit, you will remain without merit.
Do it first, and share with others later, but only if they ask to hear it.
I have managed to surround myself with peers whom I tremendously admire. Looking back, I never admired them until I got the opportunity to work with them. I got the opportunity to work with them because I did some vaguely decent projects in an area that I found intriguing, and people picked up on the things that I had done. Once I had met them and began working with them, I realized I wanted to be like them. I kept working hard and kept doing what I was doing because I knew if I wanted to be like them, I would have to work like them, and continue to impress the people I admired. It kept me working harder than I had ever worked, but not at all for the reasons I thought were what was going to motivate me and more importantly to keep me disciplined. Pushing myself beyond my limits was not a matter of impressing others, I was addicted to a drug that I was never ever going to give up. It was pure ecstasy. It was the rush of developing something substantial that was not there before. The art of construction in the modern era. I felt like a wise emperor, I held my kingdoms dear to my heart, but never boasted their greatness, for I did not want my castle walls to shatter and fall by the clouded judgment of others who had not built but whose lips were quick to speak because there was no other part of them that had the drive to accomplish. They had never uttered wisdom but they were quick to criticize the annoying trees without learning to appreciate the fact that they let us live.
“Personal development”, just shut up.
I began to realize that sharing the progress I had made with the people who admired what I did was at its best halting productivity. Receiving praise you have asked for is the equivalent of getting excited when you order ‘Animal style’ at In-And-Out Burger (for those who do not know it, its an item on their well-known and not secret at all ‘secret menu’). The first time you order it, you feel great. You are in the club of greatness, you are expecting the cook in the kitchen to make you whip out the fairy dust and for that reason you feel like you are special. The first time it is great. You try to avoid and hide the fact that your heart is about to stop beating in an overdose of grease with sheer and utter disgust, and you hide these flaws because you were boasting your knowledge. You were knowledgeable, and you wanted to make sure everyone knew that you knew. However, that accomplished little other than slowing your personal development. Keep your progress and your accomplishments to yourself. Learn to become a better person by yourself. There is a purity in exploring and learning the world on your own and it is the fact that experience is much longer lasting than any advice that some well-known figure will tell you. Words, regardless of who they come from, will blow away like dead leaves below a sage tree. The advice comes from the pure wisdom of an ancient being but the purpose of the words on their own is long gone, these leaves no longer absorb sunlight, and until you can learn the process of photosynthesis on your own, you will walk the lesser path. In retrospect this thought renders this article a bit pointless until you realize that I am writing this for myself which may seem selfish, but I hold no expectations of you for I have not seen what you have done, and therefore do not know who you are and what you can accomplish. To conclude this thought, I ask that you are careful to share your ideas before you have failed at attempting to achieve them. Fail a thousand times before you turn around and let someone know what you were thinking. There is no value or merit in an idea which has not grown. You cannot ask a seed for fruits, you have to cherish and let the seed grow before you can taste the fruits of your labor, and embrace the sweetness of victory.
To conclude, if there is any one thing you remember about this article, I hope that it is this:
- If you have an idea, go out and make it a reality. I am dumbfounded every day by how simple some of the things that I used to think were incredibly complicated actually are. Everything that surrounds you is built by human beings that hold similar capabilities to you. Go out and accomplish before you ask or tell anyone. Telling others will discourage you because most people are afraid to do anything. They cannot fathom the thought of bringing ideas to life and will share the same disease with you. The disease which keeps you from making your dreams come true, but keeps you hopelessly dreaming.
- Once you have made this one idea a reality, you will have gotten a small taste for ecstasy. This is the first step in your life. You will grow your confidence and try something else. Little by little, you will break the ceilings you put on to protect yourself and climb towards heights you have thought you’d never reach. You’ll look back at the faded world of dreams and realize that the fear of going through these portals and accomplishing them is what keeps most individuals from achieving their potential.
- You will then find yourself among others who have broken that barrier, learn from what they do, not what they say. It is incredibly difficult to have words change you for they spend little time sinking into the core of our belief system. Study the actions of individuals you admire, and learn where the words come from by embracing these actions. This will help you go much, much farther.
Oh and, listen to rap music.