I want you to let the above quote sink in for a second...
How scary, and true, is that masterful statement by Tony Robbins' ex-teacher, Jim Rohn. Who you spend your time with is who you become. If you want to be successful -- and, success can mean many different things to different people -- you need to surround yourself with successful people in your desired domain.
I also believe proximity can translate beyond people. I think it can take on a few other forms to -- physical and virtual. But let's look at social proximity...
Social proximity is the physical people you interact with each day. If you you are going to spend time with people who have nothing better to talk about than gossip and shit-talking others, you either need new friends or enjoy participating -- in which case, you are setting yourself up for assholerism (made this up but i'm sure you get it).
It's important to find real mentors that speak your language and dance to the music you aspire to play. People older than you are often great advice givers -- you just have to listen.
If you have a problem, ask these people. More often than not, they will be thrilled to help. Something I am consciously trying to improve each day is to ask better questions. When you ask better questions you get a better life -- and who better to ask than someone with years of experience on you.
It's almost ingrained in us as "men" that we have to do EVERYTHING ourselves and we should never be seen as asking for help or admitting defeat. This paradigm is outdated. We live in an age where if you are honest, ask for help, seek mentors and show your value -- people will respect that and will be happy to got the extra mile for you.
Physical proximity is another big one. Sometimes you have to place yourself in an environment that allows for growth. If you want to be a startup guru or investment junkie, moving to Silicon Valley is a sure fire way to gain valuable experience. If you want to be on the forefront of the health industry, Austin, Texas, is a no brainer. If you want to be the top dawg in the financial sector, London or New York.
I recently made a physical move from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa. It was last minute but very strategic. I chose this location for a number of reasons. 1) Growing my personal brand by living in an environment that has similar energy to what I put out. 2) Theres no doubt Cape Town is one of the most stunning places in the world -- i.e. when shit hits the fan I can look at the natural beauty of my surroundings and be brought back into the present — something Johannesburg/Pretoria didn't offer. 3) I'm studying what I want to study here and not what I think 'sounds good.'
Physical proximity is vital for growth — but, I do understand it takes time to reach a certain place. Be patient and think of the end result you desire. I highly recommend checking out Debbie Millman’s “10-year plan for a remarkable life.”
For me, this is a big one -- espicially in our modern world. Having virtual proximity to great mentors and content is what will set you apart from people who consume shit from maintstream news outlets and social media.
If all you're doing is being consumed by useless memes all day, you are unconsciously allowing weeds to grow. Yes, memes on Facebook are funny -- but, let's be brutally honest — all they do is suck valuable time from the adventures that won't be found on your 7inch bright LED screen.
Personally, I have a few virtual mentors which I follow — whether through Podcasts, YouTube or Instagram.
My top virtual mentors are:
- Tim Ferriss
- Tony Robbins
- Naval Ravikant
- Mark Bell
- Gary Vay-ner-chuk
These guys add value to my life and help me grow. I try and flood my social media with these guys. I would much rather hear a motivational rant by Gary Vee than whether or not our president is sleeping in parliament.
Proximity is power.
Writing this has made me evaluate a few areas in my life where I may need to cut down on, in order to make room for growth in other areas. It's all about taking an objective step back, looking at what brings you fulfilment, and reverse engineering it from there.