Exponential Connections

You want a good habit? Build a small circle of people who think nothing like you – people who, in fact, might ordinarily be your adversaries – and then be so nice to them that they stay in your circle anyway.

Not too many. Be choosy. Pick for high emotional intelligence; people who can understand and empathize with people they disagree with. That way you can have constructive discussions even when you agree on very little.

The more different from you, the better.

If you cultivate this group well and consistently to the point where you can have high-trust conversations with them, it will be one of the most valuable resources in your life.

Why?

How many different ways can you order the following five letters: A A A A A ?

One.

How many different ways can you order these letters instead: A B C D E ?

120.

If you have a group of five people who all think alike, you’re very likely to get the same kinds of answers and solutions to conundrums as just one of them thinking alone. More people who think exactly like you aren’t very additive to your brainpower. But a few different brains can form VERY different connections, and series of connections, which can lead to great innovation.

Add one “A” to the first list, and the answer is still “one.” Add a letter “F” to the second list and the number jumps to 720. Add a “G” and it becomes 5,040.

Now, at a certain volume trust begins to deteriorate, communication is harder, group dynamics start to come into play, and all that. I think 4 plus yourself is probably the ideal number. But the point is that the ideal number definitely isn’t “zero.”

You should have weird people in your life – and you should be the weird person that they want in theirs.

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