Friends. Invest In A Few.
Why they matter.
How much of an impact do your friends have on your character and personal finances? A lot.
Prominent entrepreneurs, politicians and drug dealers share many commonalities. It’s not just the money, power and followers they amass. It’s the fact that their closest friends and peers are really good at what they do. They are leaders, innovators and mentors in their respective industries. Yup, drug dealers have mentors too (the good ones at least).
There are many sources available for you to learn about investing in stocks, real estate, technology, businesses etc. Before you invest time and money into financial investments you should ensure you have invested in the right set of friends. They have the potential to really muddle things up by way of their influence on your lifestyle.
Maximize the Return on Time Invested (ROTI)
The most valuable quantity is time and you can’t buy more of it. Sure you can use money to free up more time but you can’t buy time that has passed nor can you buy any future stock of time with certainty. To further your personal development spend time with people who will yield you a positive “return on time invested” (ROTI). This simply means you get something (emotional or physical) from someone you spend time with. These are usually people that challenge and inspire you to do more of what you really want to do and help you get there.
Think about the friends you currently hang out with. Why you spend so much time with them?
Do they live close by? Share similar interests? Do they earn similar incomes? Are they friends by association? Do you do similar things for a living? Are you working towards common goals?
Your time is limited and there are a lot of people that you can invest time with. Think about who can maximize your ROTI and allocate your time accordingly.
Relationship means mutual benefit.
There’s a mutual benefit between a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, manager and employee, brother and sister, business partners, student and teacher, friends, etc.
Forget the classic factors that create relationships (connection, attraction, love, trust, and family), the fundamental factor that creates and maintains a relationship is mutual benefit. Both sides need to get something out of it. You can dislike your boss and still have a relationship because there is a mutual benefit. You spend your time working for your boss (their benefit), and the boss pays your salary (your benefit). Your boss may never show genuine interest or appreciation for your work but a mutual benefit exists if you do the work and get paid.
Look at your inner circle of friends and evaluate what mutual benefits exist. If you are having a hard time identifying the mutual benefit you might want to take a deep dive into how much time you want to invest if the ROTI is low, negative or non-existent.
There might not be as many relationships as you think.
Thinking about all the people in my life that I was once close to, shared some awesome memories with and really opened up to, I thought they would be a part of my life long term. Damn was I wrong. They are no longer part of my life as we mutually chose not to invest any further time in maintaining the relationship. The benefits ceased to exist. Did we fundamentally change our beliefs, attitude and outlook on life? To some degree, yes, but in hindsight the root cause is that we matured at different rates based on the experiences our environments provided. I firmly believe that we all inherently hold the same values and characteristics that were instilled in us during our youth.
People don’t change who they fundamentally are, they still retain the characteristics portrayed when they were young deep inside and are much better at not letting certain traits from the past radiate outwards. Over time, your environment and life experiences naturally influence the way you carry yourself. Looking back at the people I’ve parted with, our environment and the people we surrounded ourselves with changed significantly over the course of time. If you know me well enough today you would likely say I have changed significantly over the last 5 years with respect to being more open, confident, diplomatic and progressive. I may emit those characteristics more consistently but I am still inherently the same shy, reserved, hardworking and witty person that I was known for during my upbringing. These are the natural characteristics instilled in me.
Invest in friends that will allow you to grow on your own path, in your preferred environment and don’t hold you back from establishing relationships with new people. If you can still maintain a relationship through all the changes, this is an indicator of a good friend to invest in.
Your network determines your net worth.
Do you want to be a good criminal lawyer? Find a mentor or group of other thriving criminal lawyers and get into their network. You will pick up the trade and become better in time with the right people. You should want to see your friends “crush” it in whatever career or passion they choose to pursue.
Invest time in your friends because if your support gets them one step closer to where they want to be then then hopefully they remember this and help the rest of the crew rise up, this is the network effect. There is no time to spare on envy or jealously. You can only control your actions; don’t compare yourself to others in your network because you are just doing yourself a disservice. Leverage the connections in your network when needed and be ready to be leveraged. Share the benefits of your networks success. As Snoop Dog would say, “Ain't no fun if the homies can’t have none.”
Positively support and influence the actions of your friends. Your network value will rise, share this benefit and weed out people who bring the network valuation down.
Don’t be a “yes” man or woman.
If there was one thing I would change about my past I would have said “NO” more often. One word, two letters, power.
If you can’t commit to something and see it through properly, don’t bother at all. Be straight up and direct with your intentions out of the gate. People will respect your candor. Yes, sometimes life happens and we can’t control everything but for the most part you know what you can and cannot commit to and at what proficiency. This is far too common in corporate America. Managers and employees take on way more than they can reasonably manage with quality. They end up delivering poor work and burning themselves out like a rat in a spin wheel.
Call out the friends that say yes to everything and consistently don’t follow through on their commitment. They always have a pre-meditated BS excuse which you far too often accept to avoid further tension.
You shouldn’t invest time in people that want the benefits of a relationship but cannot deliver on their end.
Limited time needed to connect, ample time needed to sustain.
I have had the privilege to live and or work in 7 different cities/townships over the past 5 years. I’ve met a lot of really awesome people and formed several temporary and geographically convenient friendships during my short stints. Unfortunately I can’t sustain long term meaningful and emotional relationships with everyone I met, there just isn’t enough time. On the contrary, I learned that you don’t need much time at all to connect with someone on a very personal and emotional level. It can be done in a few short hours if you are willing to let go of the safeguards your environment has conditioned in you. I have been able to connect with complete strangers and open up about my life with details I have never shared with my friends and family.
Challenge yourself to be vulnerable with your friends and to every new person you meet. It’s tough to do as we are conditioned to not show weakness and build a lot of blocks to barricade ourselves from exposing them. Friends who accept your weaknesses, help you through and make you better are friends worth investing time in over the longer term.
Know your limit.
British anthropologist and biologist Robin Dunbar’s theory is that you can only maintain friendships with about 150 people at a time. I think he is pretty accurate.
Look at your Facebook friend list and compare it to 150, you probably have 3-4 times the amount of Facebook friends. Can you confidently say that at least 20% of your Facebook friends actually provide value to your day to day life?
Our memory is not infinite, therefore we begin to forget things that happened in the past as our brain needs to off load memories that are no longer relevant. The number of friends you can have meaningful relationships with cannot be limitless as well. Not every single person you meet in person or follow/friend on social media is going to be able to provide value to you.
Know the number of relationships you can manage and reciprocate a mutual benefit from, don’t push the limit.
Communication and effort must be reciprocated.
Do you find yourself always reaching out to your friends with a call or text? Are you the one organizing a get together for everyone to meet? Ever wonder why others don’t reciprocate the effort? They don’t need to since they know you’re going to take care of it anyways. You might not be convenient for them since you don’t live in the city, work the same hours, and earn similar incomes to indulge in their entertainment preferences so they won’t expend their time in you, why should you?
Stop putting in the effort of reaching out and watch what happens. Days, weeks and months will go by and your time will free up. You can invest this excess time into people that yield a higher ROTI. You’ll have a few people who still reach out from time to time, reciprocate the effort with them if a mutual benefit exists.
In the beginning of any relationship someone needs to take lead but in the longer term if that effort doesn’t balance out it’s time to cut your losses.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO!).
Fear that your friends won’t call or invite you out anymore since if don’t always show up to their events? You end up going out but dreading it. As long as you are upfront and communicate your intention and interests people worth keeping will respect it and keep in touch and still invite you to events that might interest you.
Life is about showing up but frankly sometimes there are times you need to say no and do what you want to do. You can’t live in fear and you shouldn’t have a fear of missing out. You can save time, money and stress by missing out on events you don’t see value in and investing it into an activity you love.
This very post is a by-product of saying screw off FOMO on a Friday night; I’m going to do what I want to do.
Less is more, purge and realize savings.
You clean out your closest, garage and car every so often, why don’t you clean out the people that don’t give you a positive ROTI?
Suggested purging criteria:
1. Have you communicated in the last 3 years?
- In any form (call, text, e-mail, social media)
2. What are the chances of either of you contacting the other for a catch-up?
- Could be a general catch up or ask for something straight up
3. If you were to randomly run into each other would you honestly be willing to grab a drink, sit down and catch up for a few?
If you answered no or unlikely to all three of these there is no relevant relationship, no mutual benefit exists. It’s time to cut off investing further time in initiating conversation. A lot of people will argue that you should never burn a bridge or cut ties with people you know as you will never know when you will need them. There is some truth in there if we are talking about how to be selfish and hold onto things you really don’t need. You don’t need to burn a bridge per say but don’t keep people burning on the back burner in the event that you need them later. If you need them later then go to them and ask for help, if they respected the relationship you once had they will help if they are in a position to do so.
Unfriending or unfollowing someone on social media is viewed as some sort of cynical act. I think this is complete BS. It’s totally fine to purge and make your list more relevant to the people you care to interact with. Just make sure you’re not a D-bag about it if you run into them in person, don’t give them the cold shoulder, strike up a quick conversation and say hello.
At the end of the day you can always rekindle a relationship if a mutual benefit can be re-established and sustained. If not, there are a few billion other people who can offer you the same benefit. Just make sure you have something to offer in return.
Continuously purge and keep your network relevant. If you don’t appreciate this post or find any value in it or Lyfe Happens please feel free to drop me, I totally understand. I appreciate you reading up to here though.
Friends and finances.
At the end of the day your financial habits and goals will be influenced by your peers. If your network mostly works the 9-5 and parties hard on the weekend you will naturally partake in the weekend rage. If they are running their own businesses and sacrificing nights out to GSD then you will also feel obligated to accomplish more and do the same. If you’re newly married and your other couple friends are all having babies, guess what? You and your significant other will have the conversation and likely “get busy.”
The point is that your friends and peer groups lifestyle and habits will rub off on you the more time you spend with them. In the end it impacts the way you save, invest and spend your money. Don’t let the “keeping up with the Jones'” syndrome impact your financial situation. We are all unique and should have the ability NOT to let people influence us. My brother on numerous occasions has told me, “It’s easier said than done.” My response is generally, “but it can be done.”
Know your limit and live within your means and a lifestyle that is conducive to your income. In fact, if you can manage to live below your means and use the extra cash to invest, in the long term you can live well above your means if you invested well.
Maintain relationships with friends that inspire and challenge you to better your personal finances.
Be yourself, you can’t lose.
Every individual is unique to the world can has something to offer. You can only control your actions. Good friends will allow you to fully be yourself by listening when you speak, they’ll consider your opinion, won’t criticize the way you dress or your beliefs and will reciprocate genuine interest in your life on a regular-enough basis.
You will find that the more you are genuinely yourself the more resistance you will face. Don’t let the resistance deter you from being you. Spend time with friends that invest time back into you because they appreciate who you are and what you have to offer them.
You will naturally attract people like you if you make an effort to be you, invest in them and you are investing in yourself.