Thanks, but I'm happy with the friends I have and with the kind of conversations we have. If your friends love talking about "how you can better yourself," then fair enough -- whatever works for you. On the other hand, if your friends love talking about the things they do, interesting things they've learned, neat ideas, activities, etc. then don't ditch them just because they're not talking about "how you can better yourself." You'll "better yourself" by being immersed in a social environment of new ideas and options and acting on the things you learn, not by dumping your friends and finding people who want to talk about self-improvement.
To me, your comment isn't mutually exclusive with the original.
People discussing things they've learned, ideas and activities who, by my definition, are bettering themselves. You might like your friends, then probably, your friends are bettering themselves, and so are you. You mightn't realise this, but spend some time with people who have a social circle where complaining and moaning and hating the world are pre-requisites for membership, and you'd probably realise how good your current friends are.
I don't take 'better yourself' line to mean climbing a career/social/income ladder, or obsessively reading Dr Phil type books, to me it just means improving yourself continuously.
If you flip it over and get:
"if you find your friends talking themselves down and complaining all the time, you need to get new friends"
I don't think too many of us would argue with that.
While the thought of dropping friends might seem harsh to some, you are definitely the product of your relationships and the thinking that goes along with them. Your life is also a product of the opportunities that come along, and having the wrong surroundings will produce the wrong opportunities.
You can do a lot worse with your time than make a new friend with someone who is positive and likes to continually learn. There's a lot of people out there who could use that advice.
> Today, Jane doesn’t know what the celebrity gossip is.
I venture to suggest that it actually refers to the former one you mentioned, which, being constructive, leads to the latter one in various occasions (but not exclusively).
About the discussing celebrities issue. I myself have no qualms about it. For me a typical conversation could go as follows: "celebrity_x just created this new application_y and is trying to change industry_Z..." Then we would continue discussing ideas about a web application we could build.
Honestly, sometimes just talking about someone that recently created a new application motivates me to code.
I spent a few years after college thinking I would work really hard and found a famous startup and get rich. I did work really hard and found a startup, but it made me neither rich nor famous. But it did get me into Google, where I met lots of goal-oriented type-A people (the application process seems to select for that), and earned their professional respect and they earned mine. However, something always felt "off" when I tried hanging out socially with the more focused, hard-working folks, like I didn't really identify with them. And I was a lot less happy when working flat-out towards a goal than when poking my head into lots of corners.
I've come to realize lately that I'm not goal-oriented, and in fact don't give a shit about goals. Instead, I'm discovery-oriented: I like to understand how the world around me works, and maybe poke it a bit and see what happens. And most of my closest friends reflect that back to me.
There is unfortunately a mythology around startup founders that says they must be hyper-focused goal-oriented people. And it's true in a lot of cases: Bill Gates, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, they all knew pretty much what they wanted to achieve and then focused on that until it came true. But there're good examples of discovery-oriented startup founders as well: Evan Williams, Paul Buchheit, Pierre Omidyar, Steve Wozniak, Sergey Brin. They usually end up taking a much more meandering path toward greatness (or partnering with a goal-oriented person), but they still get there.
Work with what you've got and figure out a path that harmonizes with that, rather than trying to change yourself. Trying to be someone you're not just doesn't work.
First, don't sell yourself short. You have some valuable attributes and characteristics that others will find valuable. You find a friend or group of friends who are a notch or two closer to where you want to be, people that have something valuable to give you and to whom you can give something back.
You slowly replace your friends with "better" ones that will bring you closer to your goals and will make you more of who you want to be, and you climb that ladder to the top. It'll take time, but it's also a far more guaranteed outcome versus suddenly jumping into a circle you don't yet belong in, where even if they'll accept you, chances are you'll change your mind and back out.
I believe the talented Mr Ripley used this strategy to good effect. There's a saying about never trust anyone who doesn't have at least one friend left from childhood.
I was a very very awkward youth (I didn't speak English well and I was one of few Indian students at my school) so I had a lot of trouble making friends. I don't have many friends from my childhood because I wasn't very good at it, I didn't really establish lasting friendships until High School and College.
it's just a saying though and is useless past its intended meaning. It does't seem to apply to you.
- Go to meetups, get there early for the networking/pizza stuff that happens before the main talk, stay after and see if people go out for drinks
- If you have a few people you know that might be a good fit, set up a mastermind group; I haven't done this myself but it seems like a low pressure way to get people together and build off the positive peer pressure
You definitely are the company you keep, both in your friends as well as with your spouse/significant other.
I would definitely not say definitely. Some people are highly influenced by friends, some are not.
My wife and I moved to a new city while I went through this process, and it was mostly a lonely road. Friends matter, but don't let a trite saying deter you from making things happen. If you want to do something, just go do it. Your friends will soon follow.
Friends serve a number of purposes. Some make us better people, some accept and support us for who we are. The best ones manage to do both at the same time.
But I think looking at a friendship from the angle of how it can benefit you and make you a better person is a somewhat selfish metric upon which to judge the quality or value of a friend.
I have certainly learned a lot from my closest friends over the years and I'm better for it, professionally and personally, but it's not the reason I chose those particular people as friends. It's a side-effect of having friends with similar interests and values, who happen to have different skill sets and different perspectives on life.
Neither is the sharing of that wisdom intentional, either, but rather it just sort of organically happens over time as we share experiences together and help each other out with work, family, and life in general. The motivation isn't to "make me better" it's to "be a better friend."
We are, after all, talking about friends here, not co-workers or colleagues or instructors or employers. This "bottom line" just feels rather shallow and selfish.
I was put off by the article in a way I couldn't quite pin down. What you said was exactly it.
I'm all for intellectual stimulation by interacting with people in the same profession, but that's not all there is to life. It's certainly not all there is to being a happy and successful person, at least in my book. If my friends happen to be in the same profession, that's great. I'm not ready to declare that anyone outside of development is unworthy of my time.
At the very least, I don't see how an automation engineer is the mean of two Google engineers, a brogrammer, an architect, and a soccer team president.
Also, your "bottom line" is worse than patronizing, it's bullshit. I have friends that I talk movies with. I have other friends I talk music with. Others I talk about technology with. Even others I talk about relationships with. None of my goals in knowing and interacting with those people include "get advice from them and become a better person".
Have I become better through interaction with all of them? Of course. But that's expected as long as you are receptive to changing and you have friends that are competent.
1) Maybe "having a mission" would be the best approach at throwing yourself against the wall over and over again, but I'd like to know if that was the thing that motivated you not to stop learning. Never did the thought "ok, maybe I'm not cut for this" cross your mind?
2) You learned chinese during that time? How proficient are you in that language? Did you do it on your own or did you take classes?
3) Any time management technique you'd like to share with us?
I probably will have more questions later.. :)
2) I was learning Chinese at the end of the day to compensate for not learning anything at work. I was studying on my own, mainly with Rosetta Stone and grammar books. It was an on and off process and I did feel burned out sometimes. Recently I had lost motivation, especially since I am much happier at work. So I joined my first Mandarin class to get a new direction and see where I am. It is intermediate level and everyone in the class is much better than me, because they have lived in China for 1 year. So I have a lot to learn still but I would say that during the first nine months I laid a pretty good foundation.
3) I am not good with time management myself, which is why it took me so long to enter this field. I find the study groups I attend very helpful with this. Check out meetup.com for your area and search for a topic of interest. Find the right study group which will allow you to learn on your pace, yet require your dedication. When you are surrounded with people who are also on a mission, it motivates you. Even better if you share the same mission.
Do you have your next level-up planned?
I enjoyed the post, even if some of the points are contentious and make me, personally, feel uncomfortable. There is value in being uncomfortable and reading someone point out flaws that I might (ok...that I do) have. It feels bad initially, but sometimes you need that slap in the face to get out of a rut or spark a change in your life.
Also, I agree that you're spot on with your idea that there is value in being uncomfortable. I agree so much, in fact, that I wrote a blog article about how being uncomfortable is a great motivator.
It's called, "Please, Make Yourself Uncomfortable."
Here it is:
I think people are bashing the statement because it's wrong, not because it's absolute. At least, I have no problem with people making absolute statements as long as they are correct, but this one certainly isn't.
"If the main topic of conversation you have with your friends is not how you can better yourself, you need to get new friends."
I'm sure there is some small subset of people for whom this is true. But if that's the criteria for evaluating the truth of a universal statement then it would be hard to make one about humans that is false.
In fact, if you read the whole article, I'm somewhat confused that you could imagine he even primarily means economic betterment.
It seems clear to me that he means you should be working to live your life doing things you want to do. That's what the entire article is about.
That's why I am learning to code. Not to be an engineer or to code day to day, but to open more opportunities to work with people and to be able to hang with the brogrammers. Current iteration is recruiter, who knows where I will end up, but I sure as hell am going to keep improving myself and keep looking until I find it!
Also, I didn't mean to imply that engineers are the only people doing anything. Continuous improvement was the point, and your friends can help you get there as long as you pick your friends right.
Randy Pausch said:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"
My congratulations for her. She is another living example for inspiration.
I actually somewhat agree with that bottom line. The whole point is lost when we try to put it more softly and ‘appropriately’. It just sounds too unnatural for us social creatures. But it is in some way true, as it is true that your environment influences you much:
For example, people born in poor families have little chance to become rich and successful no matter how hard they work—it just requires different mindset. That mindset, it seems, can be acquired by either a) moving away from friends and family that drag you down (the earlier the better) or, probably, b) being an introvert, asocial person. I've had myself a similar experience.
I think I've read somewhere that the more social a species is, the less smart its representatives are at average—take for example dogs and cats. (I would appreciate if someone would confirm or disprove that information. And it should still be mentioned that individual intelligence doesn't appear to matter much in a group work anyway http://lesswrong.com/lw/3mh/link_collective_intelligence/.)
If that's not the case, how could the highest-quality person have 5 friends? By definition, they're all worse than her, so their average can't be equal to her, unless we're all equal.
Anyway, back to the anecdotes about Eventbrite or whatever.
Anyway, yeah, it also smells bad, but it could have a grain of truth.
But you're right, and what's even better is that the icosahedron case generalizes to people walking on the surface of a sphere (assuming they're evenly spaced).
(Of course if we make the jump to a 4D sphere we can put 600 people into the largest regular polytope, the hexacosichoron. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convex_regular_4-polytope)
EDIT: I am wrong, it'd only take a uniform polyhedron, not a regular one. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icosidodecahedron
Your conversations shouldn't be reciting self-help books to each other. Sharing stuff you think is awesome and kicking around projects are both great examples of bettering each other. Gossiping about celebrities or talking about that new World of Warcraft expansion pack are not.
Might be related to the fancy graphical effect on the top there. Is it worth making all of our fans run, though, I am not sure.
Bottom line: If the main topic of conversation you have with your friends is not how you can better yourself, you need to get new friends.
Uh. No. If you drop universal statements like that, you're probably... Well, I won't go into it. At any rate, there are a wide variety of reasons to have friends.
Thanks for the feedback.
A primer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi_AAqi0RZM
(Yes, it's dumb.)
Your remark doesn't have anything to do with the context, and is offensive.
Or, put another way, if you prefer to read fiction and non-personal non-fiction rather than self-help books you need to get some new books. Why? Because Oprah said so.
Click the guardian one.
Besides, why did you give the _lmgtfy_ link and then say which result to click? Why not just give the result directly?
It's like these tests assume people are introverted because they lack social skills. I find that a little insulting.
I'm going to go look for friends at an Aspberger's Meetup group now.