Forming good habits: How to surround yourself with successful people

Successful, ambitious people can help drive you to the top. Unfortunately, they are as rare as diamonds and as unapproachable as superstars. Finding them is a serious mission and connecting with them properly requires stupendous effort. But do not let me scare you off. It is essential to do this to achieve progress. You need people contributing to your momentum, not eating it away. 

Not your ideal surroundings… (Photo by Ron Lach on

We should probably establish that splitting people into successful and not successful is not a walk in the park. There are various levels of success. If I generalize, however, I would say that a person with a success mindset can be validated through 3 coexisting qualities. They are consistency, action-taking, and knowledge. If a person demonstrates persistent consistency, it shows he is strong-minded. He has a routine and that is rare to establish. If you see that the person constantly takes action, and does not just talk about it, that is another fascinating trait. He is someone who acts as a go-getter – confident and fearless. And finally, if a person is knowledgeable about his area of expertise, it evokes certainty that he knows what he is doing and is interested in that activity. 

Mind that I did not mention money. Money does not always prove a person’s success. Money could have been inherited or otherwise handed down without strenuous effort. Not everyone who has money will be a good candidate for the expansion of your successful inner circle. The three qualities above can coexist in someone who is on the road to accomplishments, money, and success. Setting oneself on the road is perhaps one of the hardest things a person can do. That is why to me that person is already a step away from success. 

1. Clean up your inner circle

Previously, I posted about getting rid of toxic people in your life. This should definitely be your first step. Out with the old and in with the new. If you retain unambitious, hopeless people around you they will only slow you down in getting new, productive connections. Fear not, for there are still ways to retain those friends that you care about. I discussed how you can initiate that process in the post which I linked to above. If they care about you, they will support your initiative. 

There is this presupposition that we develop as children which tells us that making and having friends is essential for life. This makes us rush into friendships, adapt ourselves to people, and put prosperity in the background out of fear that we will be friendless and alone. “If I don’t have friends, there surely must be something wrong with me,” we think. Being selective is frequently canceled. But the truth is that, naturally, those who surround you have a direct effect on where you are going in life. Being alone, for the sacrifice of a more attentive search for higher-quality friends, is absolutely fine. There is a ton you can work on while alone, having precious time on your hands. 

2. Do some digging

Time to investigate! If you want to surround yourself with successful people, you need to know where you can find them. Where would they be? Scout social media and compile a list of possible locations. Rank them from most to least likely and then brainstorm how you can effectively visit those places to get acquainted with influential, successful, and/or expert people. Ask yourself: “Will I fit in?” Quite likely, you will not yet fit in some places, so the trick is to go for a place where you are less likely to be “made.”

“Where are you, successful people?” (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Here are some examples. High-end golf clubs, yacht marinas, supercar showrooms, and super-expensive restaurants may not be your perfect choices. Given you do not yet have “deep pockets,” not only will you probably stand out in the wrong way, but you may also need to spend an amount that will put an unnecessary cavity in your wallet. Target locations like 5-star hotel lobbies, relevant events, and conferences that interesting parties will attend, and try volunteering for charitable organizations. Coffee in a hotel lobby would not set you back much, if the events and conferences are relevant you would get a chance to network, and volunteering is likely to get you out there doing good for the world. 

3. Practice patience and invincibility

You may not make successful friends or acquaintances on day 1 of this journey. Maybe not even on day 2 or 3. This will take time, so patience is required. Successful people are normally religious about the importance of time. They will not invest their valuable time into useless activities or people. The key is to discover their habitat and blend in without suspicion or inelegance. If you get too desperate, it will be visible. No matter how hard it gets, you will need to grit your teeth and not break the cover. 

Frankly, you will not even need to have a cover to break if you get into the role wholeheartedly. A lot of people chasing success fake it until they make it. When you are having that coffee in the 5-star hotel lobby, enjoy it, and get yourself to feel you are purposefully there. In the meantime, you can do some indiscriminate people watching – to learn. When you are at that event or conference, be there as the expert you are, not a guest visitor. Nobody canceled your expertise. And when you are volunteering, perform that helpful activity with heart. It will set the atmosphere for good conversations. 

4. Connect unintentionally

Your connection should seem like a chance encounter. Otherwise, if you give any indication that you are chasing that connection, you run the risk of being seen as an unequal, lower partner in that equation. The only exclusion is when you are confidently pursuing a meeting with your person of interest for mutual business, wherein you are at similar stages of success. This would be a situation where you would be after a ton of money and you have heard that this person can partner up to help you rake it in so you both profit. If you are simply pleading for a connection, you will sound like a follower. 

Keep it natural (Photo by Jopwell on

Unfortunately, getting to a connection that seems unintentional is tricky. There will be a limited number of opportunities. That is what may demotivate you. You will know you are on the right path when you get a conversation going. But remember, as I said before this should be a valuable conversation. Time is money. No business – nice and fluent.

5. Ask, shut up, and listen

Let’s break it down. When asking, remember that the answer you get will only be as good as the question you ask. That means no stupid questions. They will wreck your chances. Your question should evoke interesting thoughts, it should definitely be open-ended, and it should spark interest in the person you are asking. 

Next step – shut up. What happens when someone speaks too much? They reveal information. The more information you give out about yourself, the more information you can be judged on. The goal is to ask smart questions and give quality thoughts as input in the conversation. Just like with sales, you want to discover your connection and make them feel like they are interesting by letting them talk about themselves. 

Finally, listen. Not hear – pay attention. This is your chance to establish situational rapport. If you are not sharp, you can mess up your constructive connectivity. Every word and sentence your interlocutor chooses is chosen for a reason. Try to read between the lines. There is a lot you can learn about a person from the output of language. All you have to do is be alert. 

6. Seek out commonalities

“Oh, I also think the same thing!”

No, that is not the way to do it. If you have followed point 5 correctly, you will have received valuable information from your person of interest by now. In that process, you may have also pinpointed areas of common ground. Those are your key to connection. What you are doing here is trying to establish rapport – a harmonious, trustworthy, and valuable relationship. There is nothing that connects people more than shared interests, circumstances, or goals.

What do we have in common? (Photo by Alex Green on

A realistic, grounded way to underline commonalities is by entering a flexible disagreement somewhere in your conversation. Don’t fake one though. Here is just an example:

“Frankly, I have experienced [situation] just like you. Your solution of [method proposed] seems interesting, but I did have undeniable success with [doing what you did]. Have you ever tried it?”

7. Provide perceivable needed value

Let’s face it – what would make a successful person with a time constraint pick up the phone and call you? The answer is a sufficient value that is rare to come by. Since time is money, if your ideology and expertise do not impress, you will not land any connections. Hence, you need to be convincing enough that you can provide certain value to a relationship that could start it off. Of course, just being a body and a brain to drink at the bar with is not enough. Firstly, that is not a productive relationship, and secondly, a successful person will not have time for that!

What is it you know that can be offered to make the life of your interlocutor better? This could range from specific expertise, time-saving practices, and business knowledge, to non-mutual experience. For example, I once established a good connection with a successful real-estate magnate. It never hurts to have a knowledgeable connection in real estate and he was interested in my experience in IT product management. The win-win combination can be rather variable, as long as it provides you both with gain. 

8. Motivate an exchange of contacts

The best scenario is when your conversation works out so well, your new connection initiates the exchange of contacts first. But given that this “move” is somewhat an invitation by recognition, it is not a frequent occurrence. You will probably have to show initiative. The key is to do it without losing pride and respect. “Hey, can I have your number?” will not do the trick. 

“Hey, it’s Jimmy! Jimmy who?” (Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on

The exchange of contacts should be backed by the value that you have managed to establish with the successful person of your choice. It should seem like without this exchange, the value would be lost. Here are various examples of how you could do it: 

“I am glad you are interested in this topic. I actually have a great article about it. I can forward it to your email if you want.”

“If you would love to discuss this in more detail soon, let’s keep in touch. Do you want to save my number?”

“If you want to find out more, I think I could look up the info I have and get back to you. Do you have Telegram/ WhatsApp?”

9. Wait it out

Phew. Finally. You have completed the process and passed through the entire funnel. Your contact information has been exchanged and now you are itching to find out if your connection was a success. Unfortunately, even at this point, your relationship may fall apart. The reason is simple. There has not been sufficient commitment yet, and therefore, the value of this relationship is still at a minimum level. But hey, look at the bright side, at least there is a relationship that can be grown and nurtured. 

Should you reach out first? No, this would show desperation. Unless you promised to send something, which you should do, but then you should just leave it at that. If your interlocutor was the one who has perceived sufficient value in you for an exchange of contacts, it should be he who should logically make the first move. Metaphorically, a hairdresser does not call his client to give him a haircut. It is normally vice versa.

Whatever it takes, keep at it. Eventually, your funnel of successful people will start producing good connections. Who knows, perhaps some of them will be your new friends. Most certainly, this is a necessary process for your prosperity. Going to the bar every Friday and Saturday night with your buddies to complain about life is easy. It also does not get you anything except a hangover. Establishing productive relationships is hard, but it is worthwhile. 


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