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7 Lessons I Learned From My Best Friend That Improved My Life

Cover photo for 7 Lessons I Learned From My Best Friend That Improved my Life

Level up your life by choosing never-ending friendships.

Since I was a kid, my father used to repeat to me the same old lesson:

Pick your friends carefully because your friendships will define who you will become.

But I was too small to understand what that meant. So I picked my friends based on their ability to make me laugh. And twenty years later, most of our relationships fell apart.

At that moment, I understood my father’s words. And I realized I wanted new friends in my life that could teach me something. As you grow up, you must find something that makes your relations profitable and keeps the interest going. So I became more careful in picking friendships. And it paid out.

In the last few years, I learned at least 7 new lessons from my best friend that helped me live better.

The Effects of Your Friendships

Your surroundings affect you more than you realize. And in any group of friends, power levers bring the entire group in a specific direction.

Somebody has more powers and will pick common behaviors the others will follow. And for this reason, you will share habits, activities, types of humor, etc.

If you think about it, habits are easily shareable in a group of friends, whether good or bad. So if somebody with a lot of power smokes, the others will follow. If he plays football, for example, the others will probably join.

Our species evolved thanks to the ability to connect with others and learn from them. And picking good friends is the only thing we can do to improve our lives instead of destroying them.

How to Pick Good Friends

I’ve realized I have to curate my friends pretty late in life.

Growing up, I didn’t have many friends. I had to move often because of my parent’s jobs. And I wasn’t that good at making friends either. So I got used to anything life threw at me.

But in the past few years, I realized I prefer friends that can teach me something. Otherwise, I get bored. I became aware of it when I met one of my best friends. And since then, I have tried to build strong relationships only with people who changed my life.

In the beginning, we only shared a passion for photography. That’s how everybody connects with people. But then, I noticed he was an avid reader of self-improvement books, and he caught my attention.

We’ve been friends for a couple of years now, and we’ve grown together. But I learned at least 7 lessons from my best friend that helped me live better.

1 — Automation saves lives.

I first talked to my best friend in front of the Automation class. We were waiting to get in, and he started talking like he always knew me.

He asked why I was taking that class. And I thought that question was stupid because it was in my study plan. But his reason was unexpected. He was following it to find new principles to apply to his routines.

That’s when I discovered automation saves lives.

When you work with routines, your life gets easier. You don’t have to get past the motivation threshold anymore. And you can accomplish your goals by making daily improvements.

If you automate working out, you don’t need to motivate yourself to do it every morning. You just do it. And that’s the incredible power of automating life with daily habits.

2 — Day-batching can free your time.

I never saw a more scheduled calendar before planning our first beer night.

I used to deal with unorganized people that needed hours to understand when they were free. But with my best friend, it only took two minutes.

He opened the calendar on his smartphone and immediately scheduled our night. But I could also notice how he drafted all his week with specific time-bounded activities. Here’s what I did notice:

  • You must start and prioritize activities you cannot control over everything else. Unfortunately, you cannot control everything in life. So you must work around fixed tasks like working hours, school lessons, etc.
  • Then, you can create batches for your recursive habits every day at the same hour because repetition benefits from it. And, with time, each task will feel more natural.
  • At last, you can create batches for casual events or free time. And you can use those moments to do whatever you like with relaxation in mind.

Batched tasks help you build a strict schedule to do everything you need. However, that’s only the side effect.

The main reason you should use batched tasks is the mental structure they build for you. You won’t have to sacrifice your free time to finish your activities anymore. And you will value your free time better.

3 — Waiting time is a hidden treasure.

How often did you pick up your phone to procrastinate while waiting for something or someone?

It always happens to me. And if I had to sum up all the time lost waiting, I would gain between three and four hours a day.

But how could you use that time more efficiently?

Better Planning

Better planning is a solution. Sometimes, you must wait for something because you haven’t planned your day well enough. And the gaps you haven’t considered might sum up in an instant.

Passive Tasks

But often, planning is not enough. And in those cases, you must use passive tasks to cover part of your waiting time.

My friend always had a bunch of tasks he could use passively without even moving. And he kept them for the moments he had nothing else to do.

For example, I learned to listen to podcasts while waiting for the lesson to start. And that helped me discover many subjects I never thought I could enjoy. Also, I learned so many things that I always have something interesting to share with other people. And all those things improved my life passively.

So instead of throwing away your waiting time, use it productively to explore other passions.

4 — Accountability forbids bailing out.

As we became closer friends, I was accountable for another person for the first time.

I didn’t know what being accountable was about. But it was easier than I expected. I only needed to motivate my friend to study for an exam when he felt low. And since I had to take the same exam, we decided to prepare together.

In that instance, I discovered the incredible power of an accountability system.

Having someone that motivates you to do your tasks and keep the streak can be game-changing. And I have never studied for an exam better than that at the time. So, from that moment, we become an accountability system for each other.

Most people try to find an accountability system without giving anything back. But the best way is to build a mutual exchange of favors that helps everyone involved.

So, for example, you could create a group of people trying to achieve different goals that support one another. Sometimes, people build friendships around this principle. And if they don’t, it’s a loss for all the parties involved.

5 — Tracking regenerates motivation.

My best friend uses a simple but effective tool to track his progress.

At the beginning of each month, he picks a piece of paper for each tracked activity and draws 30 cells. Then, each day, he put an X if he completed the task or an O if he didn’t.

His method is minimal. But it works for him because it helps him remain motivated to keep the streak going.

Also, he puts the papers in front of the mirror in his bathroom because it is the first and the last thing he will see in a day. And this positioning gives him two advantages:

  • It reminds him about his goals and the tasks he must complete to achieve them twice.
  • And it motivates him to perform to maintain the streak and reach his goals.

Then, at the end of the month, he calculates the completion rate to understand how much he could improve.

Minimalist Tracking

Nowadays, we have many ways to track our goals and activities. And we often fail to record that daily input and check in on everything we have been working for. So we forget our streaks and goals, and we lose motivation.

Sometimes, you might set up a smartphone app to remind you of your commitments. But you skip the notification as you do with all the other thousands that appear during the day. So those systems don’t work often.

But you could build a better tracking system if you keep things simple. In theory, you only need two things:

  • The discipline to check in every day.
  • And the willpower to do the work every day or most days.

Everything else is just an extra. And if it becomes too complex, you might abandon it.

6 — Comfort enhances productivity.

I always supported starting with the easy tasks first. But as we were studying for our exam, I convinced myself that keeping them for the more challenging moments is better.

For example, if you struggle to work, you can use an easy task to enter the working mindset. And then, everything will follow up because you have already reached a more productive attitude. You are now more focused. So you can queue tasks and complete them faster.

But you could also leave simple tasks for the exhausting moments of the day. Maybe when your body is almost without energy, but you still want to make one last push.

Using comfortable and simple tasks can help you both ways. You must find your weak points and strategize around them.

  • If you procrastinate a lot, you might start with easy tasks.
  • But if you are exhausted in the afternoon after a few hours of work, you better leave the comfortable ones for that period of weakness.

7 — Growing together builds empires.

Sometimes, you learn from others. Other times, you retain more by teaching others.

A few years ago, I used to care only about myself. And if I did everything I needed to succeed, I was happy even when I left my colleagues behind.

But thanks to my best friend, I discovered the value of sharing and helping others. Because when you grow together, you have many more things to gain from the relationship.

If you leave people behind, you create enemies that could seek revenge in the future. But if you help them, you can only build strong alliances. And that’s the world I want to live in.

Final Thoughts

The people that surround you will influence your life and habits. So you must be careful in picking all your relationships, mostly friendships.

When you pick the right friends, you will benefit from many advantages. You will learn more things, improve together, and they could change your life forever.

So build relationships only with people that can give you something valuable back. Find people that inspire you to become better. Friends that share with you healthy habits. And your life will improve ten times faster.

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Cover photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash for 7 Lessons I Learned From My Best Friend That Improved my Life.