Do you think it’s hard to find people you’d want to surround yourself with — intelligent people who actually do things?
I know I do did.
And it’s definitely one of the things that you need to get on top of as soon as possible in life. Because it can make all the difference.
The small number of people that you surround yourself with and spend the most of your time with will impact your life in a big way.
If you deliberately find people who are intelligent and driven, befriend them, and start hanging out with them a lot, it will make a huge difference over time. Everyone who knows anything about self-development stresses the importance of this. Every person who lives a life of deliberate design has done this.
The problem is that most people don’t think it matters that much.
Why You Must Find People Who Are Intelligent and Do Things
One of the saddest things I know, is when highly intelligent and ambitious people don’t understand this — that they must set out to find people who are on the same level as them. Because if they don’t, it’ll hold them back worse than walking around with hiking gear.
Think about it.
If you were to walk around with a heavy backpack and hiking gear every day, it would make you slower, but at the same time it would also make you stronger. It follows the principle of resistance training, you pay a temporary price of discomfort to get stronger in the long-term.
Some people actually apply this logic to their choice of friends or associates. They think that they’ll get “stronger” if they — who are smart and ambitious — surround themselves with people who are below their level.
They think that they will become mentally stronger, more independent and less reactive, by surrounding themselves with people who are inferior to them.
But that’s completely wrong!
The “resistance-training-logic” cannot be applied to the company you keep.
You don’t get “stronger” by surrounding yourself with people who are less smart, take less action, and are less ambitious than you are.
It might make you look better and affirm your ego — making you feel like you’re doing really good in comparison to these people. But it won’t help you much over time. Of course you look good, compared to those people… But what if you compared yourself to some of the greatest men in history?
That would put things in better perspective.
Being around people below your level because it makes you look cool in comparison is a symptom of being a short-term thinker who’s more focused on how things are right now compared to how things will be.
When I meet such people, and I see the company they keep, it’s painfully obvious that they’re not going to make it as far as they deserve to, unless they cut away the dead weight friends.
But that can be tough – cutting them out, that is.
It can be tough for a number of reasons.
It’s hard to be icy when it’s a long-term friend you’re dealing with. It’s hard to cut friends off, even if you know they’re not the type of person you should be around to maximize your personal growth in the long-term.
Because you like them — and emotions precede logic. It does distort your rational abilities. You will be biased. You will find any number of reasons why this friend of yours adds value and ought to be kept in your life. You become blind to the obvious loser-tendencies in your friend.
So, how do you deal with it?
The best solution is to avoid this bias from even occurring in the first place!
You do this by developing high standards for who you spend time with. You become mindful about who you allow into your life.
In this post you’re going to learn a strategy for doing this, consisting of two steps. And it’s highly practicable.
- Find people and screen them to see if they’re worth your time.
- Befriend them quickly by establishing rapport — AKA, identify their dominant memes and center the conversation around it.
Note: This strategy works much faster and better in real life than it does online.
Step 1: How to Find People and Screen Them
Socrates supposedly said,
Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.
As a general principle I’ve found this to be highly accurate. Strong minds do discuss ideas most of the time.
And the weak minds? Who cares.
Here’s what you do:
Say this quote out loud three times for the sake of repetition. Do it now before reading on.
You then write this quote on your whiteboard, or somewhere else where it’s highly visible. Then you look at it every day as you go about your day. That way it should stay fresh in your RAS (reticular activating system) and automatically be brought up to your attention.
You will then think about this in conversation with other people. You will quickly analyze any conversation on these three levels:
- Strong minds = ideas: People talking about an idea or the execution of a future goal. They talk about something non-existent as if it were real, without hesitation as to whether this is going to happen or not. They talk about what will be.
- Average minds = events: People talking about The Olympics, soccer players, some concert, or their last night out. They talk about what has been.
- Weak minds = people: People talking about someone else’s actions, perhaps about a celebrity, or gossiping about acquaintances. They talk about other people because they don’t believe they can do anything themselves. Typical small-minded spectator-mentality.
The first group is important, and exceedingly rare. The other two groups aren’t worthy of your time.
The strong minds are the doers and critical thinkers of the world — the people who set the pace that everyone else follows. The average minds and the weak minds are the many people who observe and react to the strong minds.
If you observe this for a while it soon becomes an automatic habit that helps you screen people. It’ll save you a ton of time by improving your ability to quickly gauge the character of other people.
Step 2: Get Them to Like You
The easy explanation for how you get another person to like you is that you need to find a commonality, center the conversation around it, and build rapport.
And how do you do that?
By tuning into that person’s reality and finding out what his or her dominant memes (ideas & beliefs) are.
This is pretty advanced stuff, but when you understand how it works you will become astonished by seeing how easy it is to get just about anyone to like you.
Do you mean that I should stroke the ego of the other person?
Kind of, but this goes beyond that. The meme-perspective is deeper:
–You see, when you’re interacting with another person, it’s not always a genuine interaction you’re having. By “genuine interaction” I mean a discussion between two peers who don’t seek approval from each other, and whose common aim is the elevation of the mind. That is, they’re both prioritizing learning from one another over maintaining appearances or trying to impress each other. And both people are invested into the conversation.
Why are “genuine interactions” rare?
Because it’s a fact that most people nowadays aren’t very mentally present in conversation with others. This is because:
- They’re busy playing a part (they don’t really know who they are): A large bulk of people’s limited attention span is spent just to maintain their social persona by planning what to say or do next. This makes it hard for them to really listen to another person.
- They have a short attention span and aren’t very focused, making them easily distracted: For example, if a hot guy/girl walks by they’ll unconsciously look at that person and lose focus.
These two things prevent most people from investing into the interaction. You could say it’s a defense mechanism to keep the brain from spending energy and hinder change.
With that said, you can look at your interactions with other people — in particular with strangers — in a new way. Think of it as interacting with a brain possessing a body. There are two things you look for:
- A brain seeking to test out its ideas in search of improvement. This is generally true of a “strong” mind. This is what you’re looking for. These people want to change and improve.
- A brain in homeostasis defending its existing ideas and seeking information confirming what they already know, or validation to stay the same. This is generally true of “average” and “weak” minds. This is what you want to avoid. These people don’t want to change.
I’m not saying that you should now stop thinking of other people as. . . people. But it certainly does help for the purpose of screening them to get a quick glimpse of what type of people they are, and if you’d like to get to know them.
Using the Meme-Perspective to Get People to Like You
Regardless of whichever of the 2 cases above you’re dealing with:
—It’s crucial that you first identify the dominant memes underlying each topic brought up by the other person.
With a little practice you can do it quickly.
You can then tune into that, and feed into the other person’s reality by:
- Listening to them in a non-judgmental manner.
- Agreeing to what they’re saying in a convincing manner and thereby validating them.
- Speak about the things they’re interested in.
This will get the person to continue talking. And the more they talk, the more they invest into the interaction and the relationship. This is what you want!
You could also disagree with them, but do so at your own peril.
Strong minds can take it. Average and weak minds usually cannot, they will dislike you and perceive you as a threat.
Because they’re very uncertain about who they are — their identities are fragile: their sense of reality is founded on shaky grounds. So, when they get feedback that doesn’t verify what they already know, it makes them confused and highly uncomfortable. They’ll want to avoid you so that they can stay safe and comfortable.
You’re not going to be successful at using this strategy unless you become a great listener and come across as an honest person.
Also, it’s usually easier to find and identify the average minds and the weak minds.
It’s because you’ve already gone through the paradigms that they live in, so you can more easily understand how they think and act. You’re already familiar with those things: your brain’s pattern recognition easily spots the pattern.
However, the stronger minds may be further along than you are, or in a completely different set of paradigms, making it a tougher for you to find people like this and screen them.
1) Screen people to see if they’re worth your time. This can be done quickly just by analyzing the topic of discussion:
Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.
Put that quote up somewhere and look at it frequently. Copy it into your commonplace. Practice it.
2) Befriend people by identifying their memes (ideas & beliefs) and feed into them. Or put in plain English, find a commonality and build rapport.
It’s very hard to write a piece like this one without coming off as a sneaky social manipulator. But the fact is that we all have social strategies. It’s just a matter of if we tell others about them or not.
Speaking of social strategies:
What do you think about this? Do you know of any smart ways to meet intelligent and driven people?
Photo credits: Max S