Raise your hand if you could use more amazing people in your life.
Maybe you’re looking for a romantic partner. Maybe you want better friends that will push you to grow and that you get along with on a deep level.
Perhaps you’re looking for people to connect with in business. Or maybe you want to build an audience or find customers for a project or product you care about.
When it comes to success in life, from personal to professional, the people you not only chose to have in your life but attract into it, have a major influence on your life.
With the right people, you can have amazing relationships that help you do all sorts of positive things — make money, build communities of like-minded peers, start a happy and healthy family, you name it.
With the wrong people in your life, you can have inverse outcomes — lose money, surround yourself with people who bring you down, and find yourself in a series of co-dependent messes and entitlements that can ruin your life.
My first piece of counterintuitive relationship advice comes from one of the words I’ve used a few times in this introduction.
Sure, you don’t choose some people in your life, like family. But often, you attract people into your life, for better or worse, by virtue of who you are.
Think of the following type of person. You know this person. Maybe you are this person.
They’re in a perpetual state of terrible relationships. All of their romantic partners are toxic. They get into tons of trouble because they continue to, coincidentally, draw trouble makers into their life. They’ve been burned multiple times in business deals. I could go on but you get the point.
People have this problem when it comes to not just relationships, but the circumstances in their life as a whole.
Sure, there are coincidences in life, but if you continue to run into the same pitfalls with a wide variety of people or situations, the common denominator is you.
So the answer to attracting the right people into your life is simple — work on yourself.
Working on yourself doesn’t mean you try to create a new and improved character so people will like you, the opposite. Working on yourself helps you become more of who you really are, so you can attract people with similar values and weed out people who aren’t a good fit.
When you truly work on yourself, you learn to be honest with yourself. Self-awareness and honesty make your life a whole lot easier because you can just be.
The minute you put up a front, try to cater to the whims of others over your own or compromise your integrity in any way, you’re always playing catch up — trying to keep up with the lies you’re telling yourself and the subtle or overt lies you tell other people to keep up the facade.
You can go in many directions trying to figure out who you are, what you want, and how to attract the right people into your life, but here are some of my favorite frameworks and strategies.
Strange question for you…do you know what you want?
Do you know what you believe?
Do you know what your core values are?
If you said yes, how do you know you know? Have you taken the time to think about your worldview in a sincere way? Or do you just live your life with mental chatter in the background, patching together a personality as you go?
Society tells you to just “be yourself.” Don’t create high standards both for yourself and the people you want in your life. Don’t try to improve yourself and focus on the attributes you really want to highlight. No, just live life like a leaf in the wind, and continually be surprised when you attract the wrong people into your life.
Why is it so important to know who you are, what you want, and the things you value?
The surer you are about yourself and the more uncompromising your standards are for who you let into your life, the easier it is to attract the right people and filter out the wrong people.
You don’t want everyone to like you.
Some of the ways you behave and some of the beliefs you have should turn people off. Not because you’re mean or rude. But simply because you’re not a good fit for each other.
This goes from personal relationships to professional. Take my writing for example — I have many loyal and devoted readers and I have people who think I’m stupid, crazy, arrogant, and a bunch of other negative traits. I don’t water down my views in my writing. I amplify them because it creates a quicker path to finding the right readers.
Take some time to think about the following questions and journal about them each separately:
Take the time to do these exercises.
You won’t end up having a bunch of transactional relationships at all. The opposite will happen. You’ll develop a true sense of not only who you want in your life, but who you want to be.
This way, you’ll display your true core traits and attract the people who match them. For those who don’t, you have no malice toward them, you simply cultivate the attitude that you’re for some people and not for others. Simple.
Part of figuring out who you are and what you want might involve having to spend some time alone.
The number one mistake people make when it comes to relationships? Since they don’t know who they are and what they want, they’re uncomfortable being alone, so they get into the nearest relationship. And they do it from a needy headspace.
Even if the people you want into your life could be a good fit, the more you need it to happen due to your own securities, the more tenuous the relationship will be.
You see this all the time. People get into co-dependent relationships where they use their partner to fill a void. They choose bad business partners because they’re afraid of going it alone. Their social circle is filled with people who bring them down, overtly or subtly, but they won’t properly manage their relationships because they’re scared of losing them.
We’re in an interesting time right now. Many people have been forced into situations where they’re constantly alone. Being alone with yourself and your thoughts can cause anxiety, or it can be the key to your personal growth.
Pascal put it well:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from [a person’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Some excellent strategies to learn how to be alone and love yourself are:
When you go through some of the exercises and get deeper spiritually, you’ll be in a position to attract the right people into your life.
Why? Because people want to be around confident, secure, and free people. You become a magnet for others because you’re the archetype of what they want to be.
All these strategies help you simply learn to like yourself independent of the opinions of other people. Think of how much of a struggle that can be in varying degrees…just…liking yourself, let alone loving yourself.
You spend so much time in your head beating yourself up, thinking about the past, and ruminating over your mistakes that you become afraid of being with your own thoughts. But it’s the perfect place to be to help you get what you truly want from life.
The ultimate goal of focusing on these strategies to work on yourself involves creating two things:
One thing you have to understand about people, about human nature in general, is that human beings behave based on incentives. The action of other people are not all your fault, but you can incentivize people to treat you well and incentivize them to treat you poorly.
Being your honest self upfront without hiding who you are whatsoever helps filter people who come into your life. If people see upfront that you’re a kind person, but also, you’re not going to compromise who you are just to have them around, then they’ll treat you well or…they’ll just bounce.
If you’re anything less than that, you create a negative incentive. Why? Becuase the minute you start behaving like anyone else other than your true self, you have to be manipulative to maintain those relationships, thus incentivizing people to be manipulative right back.
Humans are amazing. Also, sometimes humans just can’t help themselves.
All of these strategies help you deal with the light and dark sides of human nature. Again, the goal is to have a realistic view of how the world works as well as other people. That, plus having the self-awareness to know which relationships to get in and which ones to avoid, makes your life a hell of a lot easier.
Developing both traits come down to the simple cliche that’s powerful when used properly:
“Just be yourself”
I saw a Tweet that said something like, “You’ve been wearing a mask your whole adult life. Why balk now.?”
And we all wear masks to a certain degree.
On the one hand, you can’t just say and do everything you feel like doing one hundred percent of the time with no filter. That’s not the point. Obviously, getting along in relationships involves a level of compromise.
But you should never have to compromise who you are to get your relationships to work, ever. The minute you do that, even once, you’re on the slippery slope to hell.
On the positive side, if you just work on your happiness, your contentment, your goals, the hobbies and entertainment you like, creating a better map of how you view the world, your relationships get better because you enter the ones you want to instead of the ones you feel you need to be in.
You’re a strange one, human. Marcus Aurelius put it well:
I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.
Your goal isn’t to be arrogant and inflexible. Your goal is to become confident and very flexible, save for a few core values and non-negotiables.
If you could just bring yourself to be yourself, the world would open up to you.
You still have time to work on it and there’s no better time than now.