Surround Yourself With Liked-Minded People

Life

I have close friends who I have known since high school and earlier. These people have grown up and evolved with me throughout the years, and we have all influenced each other greatly in life. Without a doubt, these folks will always hold a special place in my heart. With that said, over the years, I’m finding myself hanging out and associating with some of these friends on a less frequent basis.

What Once Was…

There’s nothing wrong with that… People drift apart for many reasons, and as I’m finding out, one’s goals and direction in life can have a lot to do with that. For instance, a group of my close friends and I will still get together, and when we do, we typically reminisce about the “good ol’ days” in high school, or college. We talk about some of the pranks we used to pull, and repeat many of the old jokes that surprisingly are just as funny today as they were back then.

But after a few hours of talking and having fun, I think we all eventually come to a point where we realize that we don’t really have that much more to talk about. Once the nostalgia has passed, we reconvene as completely different people. If you didn’t know any better, you might guess that we were all strangers to one another…

The Effects of Time

As such, I find it completely fascinating how life (and time) can so greatly alter things, including deeply forged friendships of yesteryear. I know that I’ve undergone some rather radical shifts in my own life philosophy these past few years since discovering early financial independence… My old friends, who are not on that same journey, have found their own calling which they are also trying to make sense of.

And so it goes… As each one of us plunges deeper and deeper down different roads, it becomes that much more difficult for each of us to relate to one another. People change and life continues marching on. Best friends become acquaintances. Acquaintances become strangers. And strangers become our new best friends.

Change Agent

What can we do about it? Well, I think we should embrace change… Change is a natural part of life, so there’s really no need to fight or resist it. As I’ve learned, you can save yourself a lot of grief by simply accepting things for what they are, and by not taking things personally.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t change someone. A person will only change if they want to. Quite frankly, it probably isn’t worth the time or effort needed to try and convince someone why they should do something different than what they are already doing…

When it comes to investing and finance, there will always be those types of people who simply live for today. Investing would be the furthest thing from the minds of the YOLO crowd, as most of these people wouldn’t have an iota of interest in pursuing the journey to early FI. Just like in the movie The Matrix, any potential candidate would have to consciously accept the action of taking the red pill before I would agree to spend any more time training them up on the subject (since the concepts associated with early FI involve a massive degree of mental re-programming from societal norms). As for the majority crowd who vehemently rejects the alternative path? Well, similar to my high school buddies (as I’ve learned from experience), I’ll simply accept and respect their decision. That is, rather than trying to force-fit my ideals and lifestyle onto those who don’t want it, I will instead choose the path of least resistance… move on…

Look For Positive Reinforcements

What’s the alternative? For myself (a person who is eagerly trying to get to early FI at 30), this means attending Bigger Pockets meet-ups with other local investors. It means flying out to Frequent Traveler University (FTU) events out in Seattle. Lastly, I love connecting with other bloggers and readers. So on, and so forth.

The important thing is not to give up! Thanks to the internet, there are thriving communities out there that will support basically anything you want to do with your life. If your aspirations are for financial freedom, tune in to the net worth tracker that is updated every month courtesy of Rockstar Finance. Love to invest in dividend stocks or real estate? Keep your eyes and ears open ALWAYS and you will inevitably fall into the right circles filled with others who will will overwhelmingly support your goals.

There are no longer any radical ideas out there. Most importantly, there’s no need to ever get worked up, frustrated, or angry with friends who are no longer aligned with your life’s mantra. Go find new friends and build up your network, instead! When I finally started doing that for myself, my mindset and outlook changed drastically for the better.

Back when I first started the quest to early FI in early 2012, I made the mistake of regularly sending my old friends (who weren’t on the same path) text messages about any new real estate listings… Or, I would let them know about the next hot stock that I was buying. Since they weren’t in the least bit interested, not surprisingly, I would either not get a reply back, or I would receive a very simple one liner, “cool“.

This type of response used to get me worked up and frustrated! Early FI was a growing passion for me… “How could my best friends not be supportive, or interested in what I was doing?“, I used to ponder. Needless to say, I wasted a lot of time and energy going down a dead-end road…

Fast forward two years, and I now have a network filled with like-minded individuals in place… I don’t have to send out any more text messages! Rather, these new folks will inform me of the latest property deal even before I’m aware that it exists. 🙂 Talk about a night and day difference from before! As I’ve been happy to discover, there are many other people out there who think along the same wavelength as me (what a liberating feeling it is to no longer have to feel alone on the journey!)… “Cut the dissonance and fine-tune until resonant“. Your life’s soundtrack will really be rocking then!

Those who are even more hardcore about early FI than myself only inspire me to keep moving along and pushing forward. It’s almost impossible to not want to keep going when you regularly see others (in the same boat) knocking out goal after goal… So, surround yourself with positive, supportive energy, and you really will start to feel like you can accomplish ANYTHING!

Conclusion

With all that said, I’m not suggesting you ditch your friends and abandon them. Rather, try to put everything in its proper context and life will become that much more simple (and enjoyable). My old buddies are still great people to hang out with… I just know that when we are chillin’ together, we won’t be discussing early FI or investing. Now that I’ve filled the void in my life with new friends who are even more enthusiastic about early FI and investing than myself, I no longer feel like I’m missing anything with my old friends.

I’m at peace now, and no longer struggling with trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (which was frustrating beyond measure). I only wish that I had been more proactive with surrounding myself with other like-minded individuals sooner… Positive energy goes a long way! Just know, you don’t have to go through your journey alone; like most things in life, it’s a lot more fun when you can share it with others. 🙂

Fight on!

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MB @ Millennial BossWeekend Reading – June 28, 2014Paulinex_markus_xCong Recent comment authors
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FIHopeful
Guest
FIHopeful

This is great advice… and I usually recommend this to others as well, but it has one very important caveat. You should surround yourself with positivity, but be very wary of creating a “bubble” that new information doesn’t flow into. When you surround yourself with only like-minded people, it sometimes creates a feedback loop that ignores any potentially better ideas that come along outside that circle of influence (e.g., see how politicians operate when they listen only to the sources that agree with them).

So, it’s important to get positive feedback, but it’s equally important to continuously check outside opinions, if only to reinforce that you’re on the right track.

You can accomplish this without bringing back the relationships of the past or associating with negative influencers… for example, simply having a wide and varied reading list of blogs, news sources, and entertainment can go a long way to keeping abreast of what is happening in other social circles. But it also helps to at least meet and interact with others outside the comfortable circle from time to time too.

The important thing is to know what your life goals are, surround yourself with positive influencers that help achieve those goals, and double check their ideas against what’s happening in the rest of the world from time to time.

No Nonsense Landlord
Guest

If you want to be a millionaire, talk to millionaires. Surrounding yourself with people that have the same desires and goals as you do is a key piece of it. Ideally, the people you surround yourself with are already there, just just additional aspire-ers…

FI Pilgrim
Guest

That’s good advice, but very tough to follow. Many times we enjoy being around people who are different from us, or bring out a different side of ourselves than what we usually show.

Doesn’t change the fact that it’s good advice though. 🙂

My Dividend Pipeline
Guest

I can’t remember where I read it, but supposedly your income will mirror the income of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Birds of a feather I guess.

MrsFinancialFreedom
Guest

I can certainly relate to this as none of my friends are into investing and paying off their mortgage early.

Because I found the whole idea of financial independence so exciting, I use to try and bring it up in conversations and I use to get quite frustrated when all I got were just got blank looks. I just couldn’t understand why people didn’t find it as excited as I did!

It only took a couple of months to realise that I am best keeping my mouth shut unless someone actually asks me about it.

A Frugal Family's Journey
Guest

So true…as the saying goes, “birds of the same feathers generally flock together!” I would add that with current technology, it doesn’t even have to be a real life relationship. For instance, if you want to do well in real estate, dividend stock investing, fitness, food, or whatever subject you would like to excel in, join a blogging community. You would be surprise how much you can learn from a blogging community! Personally, I feel like I’ve grown in leaps and bounds with the support of the blogging community. 🙂

Mrs. Frugalwoods
Guest

Well said. I notice the glaze that comes over some people’s eyes when I get too excited talking about FI and all my little frugal plans… I have to recalibrate based on who I’m talking with. My family is super supportive, but I still know they think we’re a little weird and don’t totally understand where we’re coming from. It’s cathartic to read posts like this that so clearly echo my thoughts and feelings! Also, side note, we find it can be difficult to hang out with non-frugal friends because they want to do really expensive things! Our solution is usually to invite them over to our house for a potluck–I’m pretty sure they think we’re afraid of restaurants 🙂

Dave @ The New York Budget
Guest

Nice work – it’s great that you can have different types of friends and understand that they play different roles in your life.

Also, for those folks you haven’t seen in a while, a couple of beers go a long way to keeping the conversation from petering out and getting to the place where you realize that you have much less to talk about. I realize that is completely beside the point you were making, but thought I’d throw it in there nevertheless!

Zee @ Work To Not Work
Guest

I learned early on not to try to force personal finance on friends. If someone truly doesn’t care about something they will try to be excited for you but they will probably just ignore it. For me it was like that when I told my family about my blog, I got something shared on a bigger news site so I felt validated for what I had started so I emailed my family a link to the article. A few days later I got back emails that were basically “cool”.

I know my parents try to keep up with what I write but I’m fairly certain it’s only the occasional check in.

What I do with old friends is that I still find the common ground with them, we all like travel so we talk about where we want to go or where we have recently been. I know they don’t care about the details of my work or personal finance so those were tossed out as conversational pieces a long time ago. One of my friends runs a clothing company so I ask how that’s going, or their kids. I don’t have kids but sometimes other people have good stories of their kids doing stupid things. Or sports, we still discuss sports. For me, it’s still about finding the common ground, even if that common ground gets smaller and smaller.

Curtis@PayOffMyRentals
Guest

“People change and life continues marching on. Best friends become acquaintances. Acquaintances become strangers. And strangers become our new best friends”.

WOW! That was so well put! You are becoming a wise person. And as we all know, wisdom is better than riches. Riches can be lost, but wisdom is eternal wealth.

Nice Post. I knew there was a reason you were on my blog list.

J. Money
Guest

Thanks for passing on the word about our Net Worth Tracker! You keep climbing it, brotha 😉

Will
Guest

I LOVE living with other hard working people. The energy of an incubator-type environment is fantastic!

Cong
Guest

Surround your self with like-minded people will make you even more commit to your goal , that’s a good thing

x_markus_x
Guest
x_markus_x

Amen! Nothing more to add…reading the text feels like you scanned my brain and used my experience for writing it. 🙂 I’m from Germany and feel the same with most of my “offline friends” who don’t invest at all. So I guess, people around the world are quite similar regardless the different cultures. 🙂 Good luck there are many Blogs and forums where I can share and learn all regarding the topic.

M

Pauline
Guest

It is hard to get “normal” people around radical ideas such as early retirement, FI, etc. I used to tell my friends I would retire at 40 and they saw me traveling the globe and just laughed quietly. I still try once in a while when people tell me they can’t make ends meet on a six figures salary, or they can’t go on holidays this year because life is hard, … I try to get them to realize you can’t go out 6 times a week at $100 a night and still expect to have money for the holidays, but they “have to” go out and chill after a stressful crappy job. Then they wonder how I do it. So now I just stay vague and say I made good investments. You’re right, people won’t change if they don’t want to. I have nothing to say about people who are content with a 9-5 job for the rest of their lives, but the ones complaining about life and making nothing to change are hard to talk to.

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[…] Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People FI Fighter wrote this introspective post on friendship, and how our relationships change over time as we eventually pursue different paths in life. I’m really lucky in that I still have the best friend as I did in high school. Although we’ve changed a bit over time, we still support each other and find enough common ground to enjoy our time together. And although I’m the only one in my family that’s interested in becoming financially independent, I enjoy my trailblazer status and my family supports my vision 100%. Beyond that, I’m lucky in that I’m part of this wonderful community where I get to surround myself (virtually) with like-minded individuals every single day. Am I a lucky guy or what? […]

MB @ Millennial Boss
Guest

Found your blog while researching for my latest blog post on how important building a network of like-minded people is to achieving your goals!! Looks like we share similar ideals/have dealt with similar things with friends/family. This is one way to find community!

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