Standard Setters

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.

I guess that statement covers it and I don’t need to re-emphasise the importance of good choice regards companions.

I’ve got a friend named Alex. He’s a master at time management. Spending time with him inevitably put me in a position where I had to look at myself and, once I saw the gulf in productivity, desire to change. In fact, when we hung out a lot I could actually see said changes in my lifestyle. The man would always be early to whatever event we were going to. That is when I noticed how lax I was when it came to being early. He had playtime of course, like any sane aspiring engineer has to have, but he didn’t give himself hits of dopamine without reason. It was all calculated, the important, everlasting things were prioritised and were allocated more time from his day; the instant, self-gratifying things were at the bottom of the list and were often saved for a few hours at the end of the day… sometimes a few minutes even. It felt like – like he could stretch out time. His minutes were what hours are to the regular Joe. Around someone who seemingly has their life together in a way most don’t, it’s easy to become enamoured and sooner or later, to be placed between a rock and a hard place. The place where you were before no longer being enough.

A word of caution: don’t run. It’s easy to see a bar a friend has raised and think it’s too high; due to laziness or the fear of failure you may start to withdraw. Don’t do that. Let positive peer pressure do its job instead. If you stick with good friends long enough – you’ll find yourself thanking God for them.

See you tomorrow.

The “I” In Friends Is For…

Approx 2 min read

The “I” in friends stands for influence. No clickbait… here we get right to the point. The power of positive association cannot be overstated. I plan to illustrate this with three anecdotes.

The power of positive association cannot be overstated.

I have a friend called Bomi, one you could regard as my best friend at a young age. He had this tremendous fascination with children. I hated them. To me they were a bunch of entitled nobodies that cried for the attention they didn’t deserve but inevitably got. His love and desire to associate himself with anyone significantly younger than himself sparked a curiosity in myself. So I decided to study his interaction with all manner of toddlers and babies, to see what it was that got him so high. When I saw it, I was intrigued. Being the reason one without the ability to construct full sentences smile is not yet classified as a drug but it should be. I dedicate at least on Sunday morning every month to play with kids now – and it all started by seeing a good friend enjoying kids in my presence.

I’d always grown up knowing and understanding that honesty is the best policy but I never truly lived it out. I had a “gift”, I still do but I don’t use it anymore, to be able to concoct all manner of believable excuses for not doing something I was supposed to do. I’m not joking. Whenever I was caught doing something wrong or messed up, my impromptu stats would ratchet up to the maximum (100) and for that brief period my creative skills were unparalleled. I was ok with that because it got me out of trouble. I for example have never been in a fight because my intelligent mouth preserves me from being in trouble or being picked on. Yet Niki and Len helped shape my penchant for dishonesty or, for the sake of euphemism, curb my spontaneous creative ability. They were honest to a fault. “You stink, maybe change your deo.” “Those clothes don’t match you.” “You should work harder.” “Why do you eat so much crap?” I used to think preserving someone’s feelings superior to telling them the truth. Spending time with the twins made me value honesty over being “nice”. In the long run, people are more trusting of my words now because they know I will not twist them for any agenda.

Lastly, my good friend Salman let me in on a little project he was working on which led me to pursue my own ambitions of writing a collection of short stories. If I hadn’t seen Salman work on something diligently and behind the scenes, I might not have had the impetus to do what I knew needed to be done. Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories would not be a thing. But it was, it is, all because I came into contact with someone that inspired the right ideas at the right time.

What is it that you want to achieve? Do you know someone who already has that in their locker? I challenge you to spend time with them and see what change you’ll experience in your life.

Take care!

Birds of A Feather

Approx 1 min read

“I hate my friends!”

Well then, you hate yourself. Birds of a feather flock together. That ain’t no smooth rhyming joke; that’s a fact, a truth, a reality. Unlike family you choose your friends. Why then would you choose someone who will antagonise you? Quick answer: you wouldn’t – at least not instinctively.

You don’t like the things your friends do? Here’s a tip, change the way you behave first. You wouldn’t have become friends if there weren’t similarities.

“No, but we’re different.”

Sure you are. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made but even then there are ideas and behaviours that we latch on to. Others who latch on to those become our friends – the people who we look for in a crowd… and unless you’re crazy, you don’t go looking for conflict in a crowd – you go looking for comfort, and one thing that makes comfort comfort is familiarity. 

In short – why are you drawn to be friends with the people you are friends with? Because there is a sense of familiarity between them and yourself. A sense of… belonging. Now use that knowledge as you will.

Stay awesome!

See you tomorrow.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Approx 1.2 min read

We meet again! I’ve been expecting you. Today we’re having a look at friends and the role they can play in helping us out of our comfort zones.

This will be very simple, direct and plain (unlike most of the things that come out of my mind). Friends exert a pressure just by their mere presence which works to affect our behaviour and personality. Some of us have a high resistance to this pressure while others are more prone to go with this flow. Nevertheless that pressure to conform exists for everyone. If you over 12 you’ve absolutely heard this termed peer pressure.

Peer pressure in itself is neither good nor bad. What matters is that it exists. Its intended purpose is to get us aligned with the ideologies of those around us and, if used correctly, can be used for our benefit.

Bad company corrupts good morals. Birds of a feather flock together. One person said, “You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.

You wanna step out of your comfort zone? Associate with people that do things out of your comfort zone – preferably in the direction you want to go. Sooner or later you will find yourself doing just that, all because of peer pressure.

Now that’s the power of friendship.

Tomorrow we delve into ‘Communication‘. Trust me when (in my most professional lingo) I say, it’s going to be real dope.

Stay awesome!

Standing Alone

I am sure we can all agree that this world is obsessed with quantity, especially in one’s social life. We are often bombarded by sometimes unuttered questions such as: How many followers do you have? How many likes did you get?

Do you know that those social media apps could die? Most will eventually. The likes that we seem to live or die for will not last forever. 

Just like Digg. Now you can read titles like this about the platform:

Screenshot 2019-04-06 at 21.32.36

The same goes for the endorsement we feel we need from certain peers in our social circles. People come and go in this life. C’est la vie. My challenge to you is be intentional about who you want to hang around for the long haul. Seek quality people to do life with you. However, if you don’t find a character suitable at this moment, please don’t settle! Stand alone and run your own race! The validation of others isn’t worth potentially violating your principles – and if you can’t stand alone, that is exactly what you will do. When the character that you decided to cleave to puts you in a position where you need to choose their pseudo-loyalty or a principle you have, if you can’t stand alone, you’ll violate it. And all that’s going to do is place you further away from the standard you want to reach. But if you have the wherewithal to go it alone in that situation who knows how far you’ll go.

At the peak of the steepest mountains there’s very rarely room for two.

See you tomorrow for Meek Means Freedom.

We Are Not In This Together

If you were a teen or younger during the late 2000s you probably know of the famous High School Musical song. It’s full of youthful enthusiasm and pubescent fever but if we’re honest with ourselves the message is errant. We are not in this together. Before you pick up your pitchforks I’ll let you know I’m not afraid of sharp objects… just please make sure the prongs aren’t rusty, tetanus ain’t pretty. Human beings need a social life – that’s a given, however the assumption that numbers = completion is mistaken. Each genuine relationship formed requires some form of investment. The word investment means ‘taking something out of you’. Unless you are a deity, the amount of ‘something’ you possess to give is limited. When that pressure makes you reach breaking point you’ll probably become stressed (coz that is what stress means).

Good news! You don’t get stressed by an investment that you know pays you back! I’m not saying do things for people because you know they will pay you back, but I am saying that you don’t want to prioritise people and place them on a pedestal with responsibilities and expectations they will not fulfil. Doing so opens you up to a world of hurt. My suggestion? Spend time analysing people’s characters assessing their traits and measuring them up to the traits you would want in a close friend. Come to the realisation that once you make a decision, you own it – therefore be ok with the consequences of the negative traits you choose to overlook. Then approach those quality people and let them know where you wanna place them in your hierarchy of life – when you are both in the know of what you expect from each other you become accountable for how you behave and you don’t experience the conflict of expectations and reality misaligned. What about those other people in your life that it wouldn’t be so wise to invest all of your time in? You can keep ’em as acquaintances.

See you tomorrow for ‘Standing Alone’.