People make life what it is, so be very, very choosy about the company you keep. These are the folks to look out for…
The more time I spend on this rock, the more convinced I am that the people in your life are the only things that matter.
(Well, people and sport, but for the sake of a blog built on grand posturing and sweeping generalisations, let’s just go with people).
It’s our relationships to others that gives life its sweetness. It’s a sense of connection that fills our days with joy and meaning…
… or frustration and angst.
That we spend so much time stressing about our relationships is a testament to how important they are.
But I’m not the Dalai Lama. I’m not really into that whole ‘love everyone the way Buddha loved every cherry blossom’ kind of thing. Some people just genuinely give me the craps.
But I’ve learnt as I’ve got a bit older that I can manage my relationships the way I manage my portfolio. A little bit of energy put into managing my connections can really pay off.
But like all good work, it begins at home. And so a big part of it is not asking any one person to be everything. I’ve got mates I talked to about football, but who wouldn’t have a clue about what’s going on in the economy. And vice versa.
And so I go to different people for different things – the way each fruit offers the palate something unique and special. Some people offer scintillating conversation. Some people just gentle easy companionship. Some people offer me a padded-shoulder when I just want to curl up on the sofa and watch Beaches and cry into my tim-tams.
(No, not really. But you get my point.)
And I don’t hold it against everyone if they can’t meet me on every level. (And who could? Maybe a clone of me, but I’m not sure I’d really want to spend that much time with that guy. He tends to go on a bit.)
But even this idea has its limits.
For example, I’m happy to debate facts and figures (a lot of these blogs come out of conversations I’ve had). But if I get the sense we’re debating world views, then I don’t waste my breath.
Take gold-bugs for example. Gold bugs believe that “the end is nigh” (always), and the economy is only ever a day or two away from total collapse. The ONLY investment that makes any sense is gold.
As kind of mercantilist conspiracy theorists, I can kind of understand their position. But I also know that anything I say is just going to fall on deaf ears. The future is unknowable and we’d only open up an endless debate with no way of convincing each other one way or the other (though of course, I’d be right).
I know some people enjoy this kind of banter (I’ve read the comments section on youtube) but personally I’ve got better things to do with my time.
It is a long journey. I remember when I first started out, first started doing my own research, my view on the world totally swung on the views of the last author I read. And I was amazed at how many radically different outlooks and investment philosophies could all sound so plausible and sensible.
It takes time to know what you’re talking about.
And on the way you’ve got to go through that awkward phase of having done a lot of research and having read a lot of relevant info, but not being able to reproduce it on demand. I remember suffering through quite a few conversations where I knew I was right, but I didn’t have the facts to hand, or the logic well-versed enough to convince someone else. Once I’d got home and looked it up on Google I wanted to call people back and restart the argument, but that’s pretty lame. I had my pride.
(In French, they call it ‘wit of the stairway’ – to know what you should have said in an argument only after the conversation’s over and you’re on your way out of the room. I suffered from ‘wit of the google’.)
But above all, the conversations I avoid at all cost, are arguments about whether it can be done or not. If I get the sense that a conversation has just became a clash of my abundant, anything’s-possible, I-can-be-a-rainbow-unicorn-if-I want-to mentality, and their poverty, scarcity, life’s unfair and I’m-very-attached-to-my-self-pity-thank-you-very-much mentality, then I just walk away.
It’s another argument you’re never going to win, and it can be expensive. If you fail to convince them – if you fail to make them see a truth you see so clearly – then you can end up doubting yourself. Doubt can creep in. Maybe I am kidding myself…
Don’t let the Negative Nancy’s and the Nigel Never-gunna-happen’s pull you from your belief in your self and the opportunities the world has to offer.
My advice is actually, if you can, cut these people right out of your life altogether. Critical feedback and constructive criticism is worth its weight in gold, but you’re only going to get it from people who share your world view.
Life too short, and your energy’s too precious, to waste it trying to perform psychic chiropractory on someone who doesn’t want to be healed. Even maintaining an immunity to negativity takes work.
Don’t bother. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Who energise and uplift you. Who can see the goals you want to achieve, and want to help make it happen.
These are the companions that make the long journey of life the exciting adventure it can be.
More precious than gold.