Hang Around People Better Than You
Today, I want to talk about something that I think has significantly increased my ability to learn and take on new things as well as really set my skill on another level compared to where I was just a few short years ago. Ever since I learned this concept, I realized that the people that I would hang around with were not the best for me. And here’s what I mean by that.
For a long time, I would hang around with people whose skill sets were not as good as mine and I did that with a view to helping them in some way. I’ve always been a helper, that’s why I do my educational and motivational blogs and YouTube videos. I just really feel this need to help people for some reason; like a teacher or someone that just wants to offer a hand. It’s always been ingrained in who I am and I’ve found that by hanging around a bunch of people that needed my help was a great way to have an impact and it made me feel good because I get to contribute in my own way, I guess.
But I realized that after a while, I got really bored and a little bit depressed because these people were so awed by my skill set and my ability to just make things—whatever it was: programming, hardware, robot building, software, websites, marketing—and I when I would help someone out, they’re like, “Wow Tim! You’re so awesome!” and I’d get a pat on the back and all that. At first it was an ego boost, and I’d be like, “Yeah, thank you for telling me that.”
After a while, I got a bit jaded and say, “Why do you think that’s awesome? Dude, I just typed some shit on a keyboard, that’s all.” It felt really unfulfilling because I felt like they just thought everything I did was awesome and it was killing me. And around that time, I started going to a couple different meetups; just meeting up with people in my area in game development, and going to game jams. By the way if you haven’t done that, you should. The energy in those gatherings is ridiculous and they’re awesome.
When I was in a room full of people wherein I wasn’t the best guy there, it was exhilarating. But at first, it made me feel stupid and frustrated because before with my other set of friends, they thought what I did was awesome, but now, I was nothing special. And what’s more, I was being told that my approach was wrong or I should have done this and that. I was no longer the coolest guy in the room, someone else was.
This was when I realized that hanging out with people that were better than me at everything helped me improve so much. The bar used to be up to where I was; now it was like way up there and I had to work twice as hard to get there. I remember having a similar conversation with my girlfriend a while back about how I really love to play Destiny in a multiplayer setup against a team that just wipes us out! I know those dudes are better than me and I want to do everything in my power to just destroy them. I know that they’re so much better than me and I play with them because I get so much better at my game.
When you surround yourself with people that are better than you at what you do, it pushes you so much harder. I’ve known a couple of people that can’t take the pressure like that, and it doesn’t work well for them. But everyone I’ve seen that have gotten anywhere has that drive to improve and increase their skill set in order to get to the next level of whatever they do. This has been by far, the number ONE thing they can possibly do—and that is to surround themselves with people that are better than them.
Game developers in general like to sit alone in their computer rooms just work on their stuff. That really doesn’t have the same effect as actually spending time with people that are better than you. I try to see if I could translate this to the Internet and it works better. If you can find a forum or you can find a place where there’s a bunch of people better than you, THAT works. But meeting in person really magnifies the effect tenfold. If you can meet once a week or something with a group of people or even one or two dudes that are just so much better than you in what you want to do, has a significant impact on how you can improve as a person.
The best thing I ever did within my marketing company was that I would hire people who were better than I was. And I know a lot of people that are scared to do that. They’re intimidated by that and they don’t want someone that knows more on the subject than they do. When they hire, they want someone that they can dictate to or control.
I would always hire someone that was better than me at what I did because I wanted to be on that level. I wanted to get to that point. I wanted that person to help me make the best product possible. And this has carried over in so many aspects of my life from business to marketing to game development to programming. Just being around people that are better than you amplifies what you can do. It amplifies the goals that you set. It amplifies your drive to just improve.
I highly recommend that you try it. Find groups of people that are better than you at game development or programming or art, whatever you want to do and just hang out with them at local groups or meetups and ask them questions. Ask them how they did things. Ask them what they think of your stuff. Just surround yourself with those people because it will improve your creativity and your skill sets so much more than just sitting by yourself. That ego boost and ego stroke you get from hanging out with people who admire you and look up to you and nothing else isn’t worth missing out on that beautiful drive that you get from just constantly being with people that are better than you at what you want to do.
I hope you guys found these thoughts useful and if you have any comments, leave them in the comment box below.