Musings from George

Friends, networking, and social IQ
February 13, 2008, 5:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I described myself as “hyper-social” today, and believe that my wife qualifies too. It’s very easy to get cul-de-sac’ed, where you only see the people who live on your own very homogenous block. It takes conscious effort to visit other neighborhoods, other cities, other states.

 I’ve been to all fifty states, and my definition of “been to” is more than just driving through. You have to have a meal or spend a night there, ideally you have to camp there or stay with friends in the state. I’ve enjoyed Fort Smith Arkansas (home to the Hangin’ Judge who applied Western justice to Native American “savages”), Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break (didn’t even get kissed, let alone boys’ dreams about Florida), Louisville Kentucky for a friend’s “Half-way Tthrough Life Party”, and Glacier National Park (Montana) to visit my uncle’s business of renting horses to visitors for a trot through the National Park by horseback. I’ve floated down the Grand Canyon (states on either side), camped at Kodachrome (WOW! Utah is spectacular), and hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains with my sister.

So, what does that have to do with the subject? I’ve been to these places, and traveled and camped, with several hundred different people. And I’m still in touch with most of them, more closely in touch than many people are with their families (donating to their charities, going to their weddings and birthdays, staying in their houses).

Some of my friends realize that their world has become smaller, or more constrained, by relationships. That’s somewhat natural, and happened to me in an earlier romantic relationship. But you need to know where you get your energy, and who makes you MORE excited and more alive… and if it isn’t from spending more time with fewer people (be that your mate or your immediate family), you need to do something about it. Augment (have friends outside), commit (join groups of interest, together or alone), or resent (just let your networks die).

I was asked by a group of business school students for my advice on being an entrepreneur. Rule one, stay in touch with people you like and who are successful. Rule two, feed the network — interact with headhunters and distant friends when you don’t need them, so you’ll have capital in the bank when you do. Rule three, do something that excites you…we’re often wrong, so wasting your time on something you don’t like because you think it will be a success is a mistake.

Following my own advice has cost me several fortunes, but .. I am happy. More so than many that I know who have stuck with jobs they hated, or stayed somewhere for the payoff. Life is short, and carpe diem is NOT a fish.

I miss my dog, and hope all my friends have such an animal to love in their lives.

Live well, do good. No politics this time, I’m fascinated by the trip and will comment later.