Originally published on Bella Naija by yours truly -26.05.2016

I recently read a story on James Altucher’s blog where he shared how a friend of his made two million dollars in one morning, without any physical effort on his part. See a short excerpt from their dialogue below:
****
Dave: “Oh! I forgot to tell you. I accidentally made 2 million dollars this morning.”

James: “How could you accidentally make $2m?”

Dave: “It’s funny really. There’s this friend I made during a fellowship in Boston who runs an investment fund. He called me and told me he was closing down the fund. I was like, ‘Ok, well… good luck on whatever you do next.’

Dave: “I had no idea why he was calling to tell me he wanted to shut his fund. Then he said, ‘Well… where do I wire your money?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘Dave, since 1998 you’ve been the only investor who held on no matter what was happening.’”

Dave: “I tell you James, I can’t remember putting money in his fund in 1998. I didn’t even have much money then. It must have been a small amount; I totally forgot about it.”

James sat there listening and thinking about 1998. He wished he had secretly put some money somewhere and forgotten about it too.

***
Some people get rich and successful simply by hanging with the right people and being part of their crazy ideas and preposterous schemes. Some people get into stable careers by overhearing the right conversations and attending the right events. And that’s exactly the point of this post.

Do you put any thought into the kind of people you spend your time with? What you spend the time doing?

Do you think you’ll ever be able to make $2m in the morning someday with the company you keep now?

We’ve all heard the saying: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”; but it’s such a cliche we hardly pay any attention to it. We hardly think about how the people around us can make us who we become.

Who you spend time with is incredibly “life-changingly” important. Even more fundamental is:

What types of people are you comfortable around?

Your comfort level around people is a clear indicator of your character. Are the people you enjoy being around inspiring or degrading, hard-working or lazy? What kinds of beliefs do they have? What kinds of goals are they pursuing? What jobs do they keep? What does their health look like?

If you spend time with people with no ambition, values, or self-love, it wouldn’t take long before you begin to see life the way they do. Change is gradual, so you’ll never notice when it happens. Their attitudes and beliefs will seep into you slowly and steadily, till one day you look at yourself and realize you can’t recognize the person in the mirror. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on who those friends are.

I’ve had both good and bad experiences with friends. Earlier on, I had friends who simply wanted to chill and have fun everyday; as a result, I spent my days having fun. Lots of fun.

I had a chance to do-over when I started my postgraduate studies, and I had a different type of friends. These new friends were ambitious and smart and levelheaded; as a result, I found myself forming teams with them to build companies, travel places, and make positive changes.

These new friends know about financial inclusion and peculiarities of doing business in Sub-saharan Africa. They are ninja software developers who can whip up a fully functional interactive website in less than two hours, excellent communicators who are flown to different countries to speak, focused entrepreneurs who aren’t scared of going hard to grow their businesses into global companies. I get support, motivation and examples from these people and I give the same to them. Everyday is a chance for something out-of-the-ordinary to happen.

If any one of them were to ask me to invest in their company or fund, I wouldn’t hesitate and who knows one day, I too might make $2m in the morning.

This post is not in any way encouraging you to become a famzer who hangs around popular people hoping for freebies. I am simply reminding you of the fact that you can be doing more when picking the people you spend your days with. And you can also be doing a lot more to add value to other people’s lives too.

The more value you create for people, the more social capital you create for yourself. You don’t need lots of money, impressive education or family connections to accumulate social capital. You simply need time, kindness, smart thinking, and willingness to help others.

If you had no money, and fell into some kind of trouble. Do you have any friends who can come through for you? If you were in another country and needed someone to go give something to your mother, do you have someone to call? If you had a kid sister moving to a new city on her own, can you count on your friends to protect her?

When we aren’t talking about all the things money can buy, we talk about people. People can make your life make sense or make no sense; they can bring peace or trouble; blessings or drama.

So take a moment to look around you today and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Invest time and energy in people and form relationships that have the possibility of bringing you $2m someday.

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