You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with
You may have heard this before. Your mind may be rushing to list who the five people in your life are. I want to talk about how to choose the five people you spend your time with. We should be mindful of the predicate function that is selecting who to spend time with. I don’t know if there is a winning formula, but there could certainly be a framework that helps us hone our predicate function.
I believe the quickest way to weed out noise is by identifying people who bet on you; and betting on them in return. This may sound obvious. But we (me included) don’t always follow this strictly. We sometimes get stuck on wanting to be a part of an existing group; wanting someone’s time, attention, etc. Also, it’s not easy to identify who is genuinely betting on you. How do we then decide?
Pay close attention to their actions
Disregard what people say. We live in a generation that is afraid to handle emotions. People don’t want to deal with other people. We would rather pretend nice than resolve conflicts face to face in a non violent manner. If someone’s word is their bond, it’s an added bonus. But, you base your judgement heavily on their actions.
This indirectly reveals if someone has a long term mindset. And that’s the key. People with short term mindset tend to evade the messier problems and pretend nice. Their strategy for life, as observed by you, is a series of optimizations for the present. It does not cost much to only say nice words and not put money where one’s mouth is. People who just talk are not thinking that they will need to play with you in the long term. It’s like the prisoner’s dilemma. If it’s a one turn game, then of course you would want to screw your partner over. However, if you have to be around for several turns, you will cooperate.
The trouble with dealing with people who think it’s a one turn game (short term mindset) is that your association never compounds. It’s like a tennis player playing his first game for the tenth time. You want to be a player who is playing his tenth game for the first time. And that only happens with history, with context. You want people to stick around long term. You want people to bet on you.
Do not forget the cost of time
In compounding associations, I believe the payoff comes in larger quantities towards the end. You and your people are growing over the years anyway.
Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you