As long as Nick Vujicic (the guys with no arms or legs) makes more money than 99% of able-bodied people…
Your effort is the only thing that counts.
This is why I’m obsessed with things we can do every day to make sure we’re giving our 100% best effort. —Things like planning, meditating, exercising, encouraging ourselves and journaling are essential for keeping positive and controlling our decisions.
But then there are the long-term factors for doing our best—things that we can’t just ‘do’ in a day—which have an even bigger impact on our effort. And friendship is the most important one.
Because here’s the thing: we’re all human!!! (Even you!) Which means that we’re all imperfect. And no matter how fastidiously we strive for perfection, as I know many of you do, we’re all going to f*ck up—whether that’s letting up on some good habits, or completely ditching others.
Life happens. And sometimes we’ll fall flat on our faces. – Which is why we absolutely depend on close friendships.
There’s nothing you can do to become less dependent on friendships.
But if you have a true friend, – one that wills your good just as you will theirs, – and you are both in the pursuit of bettering yourselves to the greatest extent possible; then together, your human frailty becomes a pinnacle of strength.
By sharing your struggles, successes, and the intimate details of your lives, you give each other glimpses of what’s missing in your respective journeys—where you might be holding back, or maybe where you’ve fallen flat on face. And through your examples and mutual support, you encourage each other to do the often simple things that make life extraordinary again.
This makes a true friendship more valuable than any material thing in the world.
How true friendship has changed my life
You know the fastidious self-improver I was talking about earlier? I personally know many of you in the audience who fit that description…But I’m also talking about me.
Being someone who coached himself to success in an isolated field, I had (and still have) a penchant for depending too much on myself.
For several years I functioned pretty well just on surface-level relationships, – and, of course, through my crazy awesome family. But after a few years of rapid success and feeling like I was at the height of self improvement, things leveled off.
And by leveled off, I of course mean that I kept falling flat on my freaking face.
Didn’t matter what I tried…my best efforts were sporadic and seemingly beyond my control. And my business was failing miserably because of it.
I managed to upright my sinking ship last year, though, by consistently listening to one inspiring podcast a day. (It’s a great and actually essential habit, if you’re serious about self improvement.)
These inspiring podcast hosts and their guests continually reminded me of things that I needed to work on, and showed me where my efforts would bring the most results. Life got really good again after just one month of consistently listening to awesome podcasts and following through with the advice.
But life got infinitely better when I started connecting with one particular friend on a weekly basis.
And through this incredible friendship, I’ve corrected some habits that otherwise I never would’ve thought about, and I’ve been able to perform consistently at my best for the first time in over a year.
I realized how much I depended on friendships last year.
During one of our weekly chats recently, Mariam and I veered off into a spiritual tangent. She told me this beautiful story of how she got through a crisis-moment in her life by taking a two hour run, randomly stopping at a church halfway, and praying fervently for thirty minutes.
Mariam instantly felt the calm and peace that she’d been missing in herself for months. And by keeping up the habit every day, – talking to God, connecting with a higher power as part of her morning routine, – she’s kept that peace and joy ever since.
(It shows. She’s one of the most inspiring and uplifting people I know.)
Mariam’s story was beautiful to me, but it also smacked me in the face: I’d completely fallen out of my morning prayer habit!!! I said so to her, and she told me to get back on it. No big deal…just start it again, she said.
And I did—
Monday morning was my first day back on my prayer routine.
It felt great, just to connect with God, and to feel that calming reassurance that I had indeed been missing out on. But the amazing part of the story happened on Wednesday, three days into my newly re-formed habit.
I woke up with the worst anxiety I’d had in over a year. It happened out of nowhere, it seemed, because I’d been getting great gigs and living with purpose. But whatever the reason was—it actually ended up being stomach issues—I just felt so crazy and hopeless waking up that morning.
Pacing around like a madman wasn’t helping, neither was sitting out in the sunlight and breeze. But then I remembered Mariam, and my new habit. So I sat down amidst the inner chaos and I prayed.
Last thing I wanted to do, really. But I knew it was the right thing. So I prayed.
I prayed for family and friends for a few minutes, which helped me take my mind off my current struggle, and to remember that I wasn’t the only one suffering. Then I prayed for the things I needed today that would help me give my best effort—courage, discipline, energy, and, most importantly, hope. I really prayed for hope. – And five minutes later, I had prayed my way into a COMPLETELY different mindset.
I wrote my first article directly after my prayer session. Bam. Instead of wasting the whole day in misery, I was now instantly productive.
The inspiration kept coming: I wrote another article directly after the first, because I couldn’t help it—I was in the flow. And after a totally inspired morning, I proceeded to check off goal after goal that I had procrastinated on for over a week, which led to my best effort for all of 2018.
More than simply my best effort, though, this day was the most connected and joyful I’d felt in what seemed like forever.
And it only got better
In the afternoon I went on a walk to catch a mountain sunset.
I was passing the street of some elderly friends of mine, whom I stop in to visit from time to time; and my first thought was, “nope…I don’t have time for this. I have a client, and that sunset waits for no man.”
So I wasn’t going to make the right turn and stop to visit. Out of the question.
But then I thought, “What’s the right thing to do?”—which just wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started off the day prayerfully. And without blinking, I took that turn, knocked on my old friend’s door, and proceeded to have a delightful 15-minute visit with the middle-seventies couple who were so pleased and so thankful I stopped by that it made me want to cry.
After the visit, walking towards the cliffs where I take my sunset, I felt absolute tranquility. I felt connection. – I felt that I was at my very best, and maybe the best I’d ever been.
I immediately thought of Mariam, and I was overcome with gratitude.
Because without her gentle influence, without her friendship, I would’ve crawled back under the covers and felt sorry for myself all day, which would’ve destroyed my confidence and likely resulted in a stretch of not giving my best, not being useful to others, and not loving my life. But instead, I was in a completely altered reality. I was not only doing my best, but I was feeling my best, making a difference to people who mattered to me, and sharing the love and joy that had come into my heart this morning by way of prayer.
I had never been more grateful for any friend as I had been for Mariam in that moment.
My day would have been nothing. And because of her, it was now better than I could have possibly imagined.
I continued to reflect on how important her friendship had become to me, as the day somehow got better and better; and before I got onto my final coaching call for the night, Mariam called me to tell me about a personal win of hers—a job offer in a really exclusive role (go Mariam); and to congratulate me and inflate my ego a bit for my first podcast, which she’d heard that morning. And instead of lamenting to her that my day had been shit, which would’ve been the case, I got to pour out all of my gratitude for her and tell her how important she had become to me, and exactly how she was helping me to become my best self. Because I had her for a friend.
It was one of the most special conversations I’d ever had, with anybody. And it cemented a friendship that I will continue to depend on and grow within.
Now could I have listened to a podcast that talked about prayer?
I could’ve even been inspired to get out of my prayer rut, if the guest were particularly moving. But a podcast couldn’t have encouraged me specifically to do that; and more to the point, a podcast couldn’t care. – It couldn’t check up on me a couple days later to see how things are going, to remind me that I need to be on top of my game, and to be an example for me.
But a friend can do all of those things. And because I’ve made time for deeper-level friendships, a friend has done those things for me, just as I’ve done for her. And it’s helped me to become the best version of myself.
How can you start benefiting from deeper friendships?
Whether you’re extroverted and are always around people, or are introverted like me, and are always around imaginary people, you need deeper friendships if you aspire to consistently be and give your best. No other way around it.
You need a good friend you can share your weaknesses with (as well as your wins) so that you don’t stay weak, and so that you celebrate your wins and feel as amazing about your progress in life as you should. A good friend like this will remind you that you are in fact worthwhile, no matter how down you feel, and they’ll remind you of all the good you’re doing and have done.
As I said at the beginning, though, friendship isn’t something you can ‘do’ every day. But you can make it a weekly focus that impacts your every day. So pick out the friend (or people you’d like to be friends) and take them out for coffee once a week or have a phone call. Make connecting with good and interesting people a priority.
Not just anybody
This person has to be committed to his own self improvement journey. It bears repeating: this person has to be committed to his or her own self improvement journey. Otherwise he won’t set a good example and show you where you can improve.
“Heyyy mann, I was feeling kinda bad about myself and anxious about life, but then I just smoked pot all week and it was wayyyy better! Fucking great week! Life’s crazy man….so deep, too.”
That kind of friend is useless, and doesn’t even technically qualify as a friend.
It’s gotta be someone you admire.
Oh, and there can’t be an expectation for it to happen once a week, or a couple times a week. If you say, hi, person I admire, my happiness and success is dependent on talking to you once a week, practically no one’s going to be interested. It’s too much pressure.
But you can initiate deeper level friendships where you inspire each other and talk about your self-improvement journeys just by having that first coffee or that first call. If that person is an ardent self-improver like you, there’s a good chance that you’ll have an excellent conversation and come away feeling inspired and connected, like you’re ready to kick ass; – and there’s a good chance it’ll be the exact same for the person you talked with. That’s a really enjoyable thing, and valuable too, the way it impacts your week as a whole.
So you’ll ask to have another chat again within the next couple of weeks, if they haven’t asked you already—which there’s a good chance they will. And you’ll just grow the connection from there.
Focus on being the most uplifting and supportive friend you can be to that person, and always bring a really positive energy to the conversation—always greet your friend with the highest enthusiasm. Better still if you actually live an inspired life and have a bunch of accomplishments to talk about and ideas that you want to share. (Listening to a podcast a day really helps, in the conversation department.)
Of course this puts you at the risk of being rejected. Awww. But you just have to have faith that if this person isn’t the right fit for you, and you aren’t for them, then there’s someone even better coming along for you to connect and grow with. Because God made us extremely imperfect and entirely dependent on deep connections. So He wouldn’t have put you on this earth if you didn’t have a really good friend waiting for you to multiply each other’s happiness and success with.
You just have to take the initiative. Have some courage.
Once you do, and you grow the friendship organically, you’ll realize just how important it is to you being the best version of yourself—just as I’ve experienced recently. And your life will be infinitely better for it.
So now I want you to get in touch with a friend, focus on being the best friend you can be, and, like always, do – your – best…