“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey
I’ve been immersed in the study of friendship for the past several years, and among the many things I’ve learned, one idea stands out: If you truly want to change some aspect of your life, developing friendships with people who aspire to the same goals as you do — like I did with a handful of friends years ago — can lead to more successful endeavours than embarking on solitary efforts.
Shortly after we make a decision to change our behaviour, we often sense a softening of what at first felt like ironclad conviction. We chastise ourselves for our inability to summon motivation and return to the poor habits we’re trying to break to comfort us, actively undermining our goals. What a disheartening cycle. But research shows that having friends with the same goal can interrupt that cycle.
Throughout my journey, I have gained some, I have lost some. Some came when the tides were low, some left when the tides were high. Nevertheless, I have made some extremely valuable friendship along the way. Some I keep close to my heart till this very day.
In a recent New York Times column, “How People Change,” David Brooks noted that, “There’s a trove of research suggesting that it’s best to tackle negative behaviours obliquely, by redirecting attention toward different, positive ones.” Investing in fulfilling friendships with those who have the values and habits you admire will lift you up to those friends’ level more easily.
The desire to be with, be like, and be liked by friends is primal. We’re all built to seek out strong bonds with friends on whom our very survival might have once been dependent.
While we don’t necessarily need friends to help hunt or fight off predators these days, most of us probably still feel like we can’t live without them. Tap into that deep-down social motivation and you’ll not only be primed for success, you’ll take pleasure in the proverbial journey.
To my dear friends, here’s to you ~ for many more years of friendship like the one we have~