(Note: The following was originally a guest post for a now-defunct site called Way Below Status Quo.)
After reading Tim’s earlier post and the subsequent comments, I figured I could share something of value here.
I believe I’ve gotten quite good at finding like-minded people in the real world. That is, people who aren’t satisfied with mediocrity; people who are willing to work hard to make a better life for themselves, while helping and inspiring others along the way.
How do I find such people?
The biggest key for me is putting myself and my ideas out there. I write mostly about personal development on my blog, and I promote each post on Facebook at least twice. Because of this, all my Facebook contacts — the majority of whom I know from the real world — have a pretty good idea of the type of guy I am and what I’m all about. Every now and then one of them will reach out to me and suggest we meet up for a chat, because “what you wrote really hit home with me.”
I’ve been surprised by some of the people who have reached out to me like that, folks I never would have guessed shared similar thoughts/goals/experiences/fears/challenges. Even if we’ve never really been close, they feel safe getting deep with me because they’ve come to know the type of person I am through my writing.
They know I won’t laugh at that crazy dream of theirs. More likely, I’ll help them live it.
I also try not to do small talk. Instead of discussing the weather or the latest news, I’d rather ask people what big unrealistic goals they’d set for themselves if they were guaranteed to succeed, if they knew they couldn’t fail. And after they tell me, often laughing or shaking their heads as they do so, I’ll respond in all seriousness: You should totally go for it!
Yeah, lots of people stay away from me now 😉
But I like that. Just as important as surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people, is staying away from negative, small-minded people. I’ve found that the more I put myself out there — the more I challenge people to be the best they can be — the more I attract the type of folks that help build me up and repel the types that drag me down.
So that’s my advice: Speak your mind more. Share your hopes and dreams with everyone. Let the world know who you really are and what you’re aiming for. Then you won’t have to go looking for like-minded people; they’ll find you.