Select excerpts from Robert Waldinger’s TedTalk: “So what have we learned? What are the lessons that come from the tens of thousands of pages of information that we’ve generated on these lives? Well, the lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep people happy and healthier. Period. We’ve learned 3 big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us. And that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, their physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And they experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in mid-life, their brain functions decline sooner, and they live shorter lives than those who are not lonely…And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd and be lonely in a marriage. So the second big lesson that we learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of those relationships that matters….The people who were the most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80…And the third big lesson that we learned about the effect of relationships on our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel like they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper, longer.”
I share all of this because a great life (and a great businesses) is built upon a foundation of deep and genuine relationships. Period.
I’m here to tell you that everything has changed, but nothing is different. We overestimate the value of access to information and underestimate the value of access to each other. Regardless what realm you’re striving to achieve success in, you need to surround yourself with the right people. As John Wooden famously said… “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future…”
And if you haven’t started to consciously choose who you surround yourself with, it’s time to start.
Dan Sullivan has a philosophy that for the first 6 years of our life, we’re born into the world where everything is happening to us, and along the way you start building relationships that are based purely on proximity. You are born into a family, you go to school, you play a sport… you didn’t really choose these relationships, they were chosen for you.
As time goes on we start becoming conscious as to where we want to go, and all of a sudden, our new consciousness conflicts with our loyalty to these people that we never chose. We end up being very emotionally attached to these relationships, and there comes this crucial point in life where we have to make a decision about where we allocate our energy.
At some point you will realize that as you choose your life more and more, you’re also going to have to choose a different set of relationships. You can stay in touch with your past, but those individuals that you knew in the past generally won’t be all that supportive of your future because to a certain extent you’re leaving them behind. There are people who you had relationships with that were important at a certain stage of your life in the past to get where you are (in a business context this could even be team members, customers and clients). But what got you to where you are, won’t get you to where you want to go.
Jim Collins talks about having the right people on the bus in his famous book called Good To Great. Ultimately, if you want to build an 8 figure business, you will need an 8 figure opportunity, an 8 figure skillset, 8 figure structures, an 8 figure team, and 8 figure relationships. Upgrading your tribe is inevitable should you want to pursue growth in any area of your life. One question I really like people to soak in is:
Are the current relationships in your life related to your past, or related to your future growth?