Becoming a better person is something most of us strive for. However, early on, I realized that it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.
When you surround yourself with high-quality people, achieving more in life becomes much easier.
It’s like having an unfair advantage over other people.
But to make things easier, in this article, I’ve only included the people most of us are surrounded by already.
You just need to be open to listening and learning wise things from them.
“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older, they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”
– Oscar Wilde
It all starts with our parents, right? They aren’t just there to provide for you. They’re the ones who stayed up late when you were sick, taught you right from wrong, and gave you your first life lessons.
They aren’t just your caregivers; they’re your first role models, showing you what it means to be responsible, loving, and supportive. They instill values in you that stick with you for life.
Only when I became a parent myself a couple of years ago did I fully comprehend just how much responsibility you have in molding your child properly.
I’ve also realized how terrible I was behaving towards my parents when all they were trying to do was help me with their wise advice.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
– William Arthur Ward
Teachers are more than just people who stand in front of a chalkboard. They’re the ones who encouraged your interests, patiently explained complex topics, and helped you reach your potential.
They’re more than just educators. They’re mentors who equip you with essential life skills. If you let them, they show you that learning is a lifelong journey.
The truth is, there are many bad teachers out there. But there are also amazing ones who haven’t given up on kids and who truly want to help them.
Now, if you’re out of school or college by now, the learning doesn’t stop. There are many things you’re passionate about, I’m sure.
Find someone who can teach you new things on YouTube or teaching platforms like Skillshare and become better each day at something.
Or attend live classes and courses to stay on top of things.
“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’.”
– Groucho Marx
Your friends aren’t just people you hang out with. They’re the ones who celebrate your victories and lend a shoulder when you need it most.
They’re the ones who teach you about trust, loyalty, and the beauty of genuine connections. They show you the power of empathy and the joy of shared experiences.
Learn from their experiences, and you’ll become a better person. You don’t have to experience everything on your own skin.
In fact, it’s far better to learn from other people’s mistakes.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
If you don’t have a mentor, you’re missing out. Big time! You see, mentors aren’t just advisors.
They’re guides who invest their time and wisdom in your personal and professional development.
They share their experiences, provide feedback, and help you navigate the twists and turns of life.
They’re sources of advice, catalysts for your growth, and help you become a better version of yourself.
To find a mentor, simply start by expanding your network. Attend events, workshops, and seminars in your field of interest.
Join professional associations and online communities related to your goals.
Use online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your field. Send polite and personalized messages to potential mentors explaining your goals and why you’d like their guidance.
“Never tease an old dog; he might have one bite left.”
– Robert A. Heinlein
Older people have literally lived through a lifetime of experiences. They aren’t just elderly. Oh no, they’re living history books.
They offer a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, sharing stories that are both informative and often heartwarming.
They teach you the value of perspective, patience, and the importance of cherishing time.
It’s a sad reality that most young people tend to dismiss old people. Yet, if they’d have their hearts and minds open, they could learn so much from them.
“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.”
– Sheryl Sandberg
Coworkers aren’t just colleagues you share office space with. Okay, sometimes they are.
But they’re also the partners in your professional journey. They can help you understand the dynamics of teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving.
They demonstrate the power of collaboration and the importance of adaptability. I’m first to admit that some coworkers can be toxic and are a big factor in finding a new job.
Still, some of my best friends are current and past coworkers, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
7) Authors and artists
“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”
– G.K. Chesterton
Authors offer a range of perspectives and ideas through their writings. They are your windows to different worlds and cultures.
Reading books and other works broadens your horizons, improves your empathy, and enriches your understanding of life.
Many things I know I didn’t learn in school. Only after it was finished did I finally start appreciating the power of a good book.
Likewise, artists express their inner worlds, emotions, and creativity in unique ways. They can be your muse, encouraging you to explore your own creative venues.
Above all else, their art can resonate with your emotions and inspire you to express yourself.
Although I’m not an artist, I admire great art that makes me think about myself, my work, and life in general.
“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.”
– Steve Maraboli
Random encounters with strangers can transform you. They share brief yet insightful glimpses into their lives, reminding you that everyone has a unique story.
If you keep your mind open, they are more than just passersby.
For example, a couple of years ago, I started a small talk with an older gentleman while waiting in line for coffee.
One thing led to another, and we sat together at a table with our coffees and started talking some more.
He shared with me that he was visiting his grandchildren but that he lived in Portugal, where he and his wife moved a couple of years ago.
His only regret in life was that he didn’t move there sooner. That got me thinking about my own life, and lo and behold, I now live in Portugal, too, and my family and I are enjoying every minute of it.
Funny how life works.
“There is always a storm. There is always rain. Some experience it. Some live through it. And others are made from it.”
– Shannon L. Alder
Activists aren’t just passionate advocates for their causes. They’re living proof that you can make a difference in the world by standing up for what you believe in.
They’re like everyday heroes who inspire the rest of us. When we see their passion, their unwavering determination, and the personal sacrifices they’re willing to make for what they believe in, it’s like a spark that lights a fire inside us.
It makes us want to roll up our sleeves, get involved, and be a part of the movement for a better world.
They also open our eyes to the injustice and things that need to be fixed.
However, as with other types of people in our lives, there are good and bad activists.
Each of these people, in their unique ways, can profoundly impact your life and contribute to your growth as a better, more empathetic, and well-rounded person.
If you let them, that is.