My life couldn’t be more different today than it was when I was 19 years old. Back then I was living in a small village in the countryside of Germany and my family and all of my friends thought my feature life will go something like this: Go to university, be diligent and find a job that pays good money. In other words: Just go with the flow.
But I decided to take a gap year and bought an open return ticket to Sydney, Australia. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Because during that year of work and travel I met countless of people who not only inspired me to visit other countries (New Zealand and Southeast Asia followed) but also to really live the life that I want.
I didn’t start become an online entrepreneur back then as I started studying Business Administration in Berlin after my return, but it was still quite a move for a young guy from a small village in Bavaria.
Then I kept going back to Asia for trips during the semester breaks and eventually did my internship in Bangkok, Thailand, where again I was inspired and influenced by other people. This time it were the owners of the American online marketing business I worked with. Those guys had been living in Asia (both in Shanghai and Bangkok) for 6 years already and they were making good money while working location independent. You can put it like this:
I was surrounded by people that lived the life I wanted to live five days a week (and often also on the weekends).
Two years later, after finishing my final semester in Berlin and having worked at another company in Bangkok while meeting more people who had their own online business, I was finally generating enough money to make a living and more than enough project ideas for the near future.
And this is what I believe:
If I hadn’t surrounded myself with people running successful online businesses pretty much on a daily basis for a couple of years, I wouldn’t run my own successful online business today.
Because I wouldn’t have truly believed that it’s possible to do it myself and dismissed all those make money online blueprints as nonsense and people only selling them but not actually making any money from the methods they teach (some of them do).
I wouldn’t have seen it with my own eyes how people lived the new digital nomad lifestyle and by occasionally doing outreach and meet-ups with them, I was able to figure out by myself how they were making a living (and often much more than that) online.
At that time I was living in big cities – Bangkok and Berlin – and just by being surrounded by ambitious and successful people, I felt so much more optimistic and motivated compared to the small little village I had spent the first 19 years of my life.
I’m obviously not talking about the street food sellers in Bangkok or Spätkauf owners in Berlin but rather about people driving expensive cars, eating in nice restaurants and living in upscale Condos. Just by seeing a couple of Mercedes or impressive new condominiums built around the corner every single day, it makes you feel like you want to accomplish something to be in the same position as others around you who can afford all these things.
And it makes you subconsciously try to figure out what these people do that makes them so successful. Sure, there are always guys who just have rich parents and get everything presented on the silver platter. But the 99.5% of the remaining people are either no millionaires or have accomplished everything themselves. I guess you want to belong to the latter group and for that it can be immensely helpful to surround yourself with successful people.
What exactly you can do
- Move to a big city or any place really where you know there are many ambitious, successful and rich people (it doesn’t have to be New York City or London, it’s quite expensive too, Asian cities tend to be great since the cost of living is relatively cheap and you get to see super rich people all the time)
- Get rid of all the updates on your Facebook newsfeed that don’t motivate but rather distract you. Follow successful people in your industry or in general (i.e. John Chow for Internet Marketing, Grand Cardone for motivation)
- Get rid of negative influences that might hold you back from making decisions that other people don’t dare to make and just do what you need to do in order to achieve your goals and dreams.
- Go to networking events. Even I tend to be a bit lazy when it comes to going out to these events where you meet new people but every time I go there’s at least one person who inspires me, gives me one little tip that helps me grow my business, one idea or simply a new friendship.
- Read books on business and success. This is a great way to have successful people talking to you, no matter where you are. Some of the books that have changed the way I think (and act) in a lot of areas are „The Compound Effect“ (Darren Hardy), „How To Win Friends And Influence People“ (Dale Carnegie), „How I Failed At Almost Everything And Still Win Big“ (Scott Adams) and „The 4 Hour Work Week“ (Tim Ferriss).
- Down the road: Get yourself a personal mentor. Remember that the biggest investment you can make is in yourself. You might put it on hold when starting out, but many successful people are being coached by even more successful people who help them take their business and income to the next level.
I would like to round up this post with a video of myself talking about this topic (big surprise). If you have watched any of my other videos you probably noticed that most of them have one thing in common: They are recorded at some beautiful Asian country or anywhere really while traveling.
Today is a little bit different, because I speak to you from my home village: Scheuring, about 65km west of Munich in Germany. It is really beautiful here too and while I’m always happy to come back here for some time to meet up with my family and friends and to „recharge my batteries“, there’s a reason why I prefer to spend most of my time in other places these days.
Have you made similar experiences like me? Do you feel more ambitious, optimistic and creative when being surrounded by successful people? I’d love to hear from you down in the comments.