I Am Who I Hang Out With – Ten Things I Know To Be True #2

The old adage “People are your most important asset” is wrong; the right people are your most important asset ~ Jim Collins

Two children sitting by a campfire

What makes me human? Community. No matter how shy or introverted I sometimes feel, I need other people around me. Sometimes I just need to be in the same room, maybe not even participating. Just seen, just included.

People that know me might be surprised by this. Many people, I think, see me as outgoing, confident, and capable. I don’t always feel that way. I think most people, at least those that are self-aware and thoughtful, don’t always feel good about themselves or their circumstance once in a while.

But community is what makes us who we are. Song, story, dance, cooking are part of our evolution. A big part of what makes us human. Besides being able to throw things and make tools, who we are as a species and who I am person is directly related to whom I spend time with.

If I don’t like who I am, if I want to change my behaviour, I must also change my context and my company. If I want to be successful at work, I must choose who I work with consciously. If I want my children to be successful, I can and should control who they spend time with. Including other children, because that is who has the greatest influence on them. 

If I want to quit smoking, I have to stop hanging out with smokers. If I want to get fit, I have to spend time with people who spend time at the gym or outdoors. Or maybe get a dog and spend time in the woods with her. If I want to build a successful company, I will be very careful about who I chose to work with me.

If I hang around with people who are always complaining, or blaming others, or or fearful, then I shouldn’t be surprised when they negatively affect how I see the world and treat other people.

I don’t want the people around me always agreeing with me. I need people to challenge me, to call me on my bullshit when appropriate, push me in positive way, and to question and challenge me. This makes me better. In a firm but supportive way. With dignity and respect.

But those people need to be smart, and inspired, and empowered. Because that’s what I want for myself too.

Corollary: As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.  – Gandhi

Part of my Ten Things I Know To Be True series.

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