I was alone and scared. I came to America from Thailand and didn't know anybody. My English was passable, but not good enough to fit in.
I'd see people walking by on Michigan Ave laughing and wonder how great it must feel to have someone make you laugh. My heart hungered for someone to love me back.
Society has this view of a successful person as a loner. Someone who slaved away in their basement or dorm while they secretly created Facebook.
But that's not true. Let me tell you how it really is. You never become successful by yourself.
Mary Curie had her husband Pierre. Jessie McCartney had John Lennon. John Mackey started Whole Foods with his girlfriend Renee Lawson. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak.
Friends borrowed money from me and never payed me back. They'd call me for advice and then I would never hear from them again.
I had friends who would say my ideas were stupid. Friends who made me hate my job. Friends who I was scared to say 'no' to.
As an aside, say no to everything you don't want to do. Saying "no" to everything you don't want to do, frees you up for all the things you do want to do. This is hard for me to learn.
Important to say "no" to bad friends.
They say you're the average of the five people you hangout with. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. People who encourage you. Who make you feel creative. People who make youhappy.
A good rule of thumb is to see how you feel after hanging out with those people. Do you feel drained? Like if you want to go to sleep right after? Cut them off.
Good people are like many different strands that when braided together, become stronger. Have you seen those huge, thick cables on a bridge? They aren't just one strand. It's hundreds of metal strands joined together to create miracles.
And together, they help you cross safely over a river. Oceans even.
They say you don't choose your friends. That's a lie. It's always our choice. When you start saying "no" to bad people, you'll lose some.
But the ones you gain will change your life. Like you have changed mine.