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Why You’ll Always Be Closest To Friends You Met When You Were Young

Why You’ll Always Be Closest To Friends You Met When You Were Young

My first best friend and I met during recess, as is often the case. I don’t recall the exact circumstances or how we introduced ourselves. It probably involved booger flicking or farting, the likes of which neither of us had yet observed in any other second graders on the playground before. Whatever seven-year-old chords were struck, we were destined to be best friends for quite some time.

I recall around fifth grade we had both decided on what we were going to do with our futures. The dye was cast and there was no turning back. He had decided he would become an astronaut so he could live on the moon and I was going to be a professional soccer player (Manchester United, I believe, was the team I would play for had they asked nicely). It is this unguarded innocence of being a child and dreaming with no checks or balances that proves why you’ll always be closest to friends you met when you were young.

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My first best friend and I drifted apart during high school. One day, I realized that I hadn’t spoken to him in over a year except for passing in halls. It seemed like a mutually unintentional separation at the time. I still don’t fully understand it. However, I can tell you this, we haven’t spoken since and I still think about him quite often at thirty-seven years old. In stark contrast, I think very little of the thousands of people I have met since.

He went on to become a doctor from what I hear. I went on to not play for Manchester United or even the Houston Dynamos.

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We seem to make a lot of plans as children, which are hinged upon our imaginations, like fantasy-filled interactions with doll houses, castles, tea party sets, race cars, Barbies, and baseball cards. However, once we finally become adults, we realize there were a lot of unforeseeable events along the way.

Where there was once raw imagination and limitlessness there are now realities and barriers. Here’s the thing, though. If these realities and barriers weren’t in place then we would all eventually be getting job promotions, layoffs, transfers, colonoscopies, clean bills of health, or cancer diagnoses with an adolescent mindset. I think this transformation, or process of hardening, we all go through is perfectly natural, but I also find it tragic that imagination and innocence must be sacrificed for the ability to be fully functioning adults.

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Establishing new friendships as an adult is a vastly different arena to play in. We are thick-skinned, we all have our own problems, we have very little time, and the friendships we already have from our pasts are challenging enough to maintain… but they are treasured and worth it.

“I never had any friends later on like the one’s I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”

This quote is the final line of Rob Reiner’s 1986 film Stand By Me. It could not be more spot on. A funny thing about getting older is occasionally running into someone from your past and them seeing right through the rigid, stoic, and possibly cynical armor you now protect yourself with. This armor is for the adults you have met after high school and will continue to meet. Unfortunately, this armor gets thicker each year.

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Yet, you run into this friend from the past and the armor vanishes in a single moment. You pick up exactly where you left off twenty or thirty years ago and for a priceless moment you get to be innocent and dream like a child again.

Featured photo credit: capes via littleherocapes.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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