Dude Skill #4: GROW – Part 3


Grow Intellectually – Develop Your Mind

It was once of the few smart things I did in college: develop friends who weren’t like me. Until then, almost all my friends shared my interests. Many of my buddies were jocks. I had fallen into the trap of the affinity network. Most groups are rooted in affinity when they first begin, but they can easily become cliques. When that happens, affinity becomes less about having common ground and more about surrounding yourself with people who are like you to remind you how great you are.

Sometimes new friends help us see things about ourselves that old friends don’t. Recently, I realized that I hadn’t made a new friend in a couple of years. Earlier I mentioned the rock-climbing guru. He would prefer to live in the woods, which he once did for several months straight. His life was very simple. He runs his business (the gym) and pursues his passion (climbing). He refuses to allow the complexities of life to distract him from simplicity. I am learning from him about how to stay focused and enjoy my life. He says he learns from me about management and start-up issues with his business.

I have a new friend who is one of the top cartoonists in the world. He is a New York Times bestselling author, and two of his books are being turned into movies. He also happens to be the dad of my daughter’s best friend. We co-work a couple times each month and share ideas. I even take him rock climbing and help him with his fear of heights. He helps me think outside the box with my writing. We help each other with strategies to keep the boys from our daughters until they are thirty.

One of my neighbors sells insurance and is trying his best to raise a family. We have barbecues together and talk almost daily when it’s warm outside. His kids are a little older than mine, so I ask him questions about surviving the teen years and how to stay connected to your wife after a few decades of marriage. He talks to me about spiritual things. We both complain about our local sports teams’ lack of signing potential free agents.

One of the best things a man can do is get new mirrors. You may have to break up some of your cliques to do so. but you may enhance your community when you do. It is easy to say, “Get new friends!” But what kind of guys should you seek? There at least three types of friends that every man should have in his life: Fun Brothers, Business Brothers, and Soul Brothers,

Fun Brothers

New friends can bring fun back in your life. I used to be a pretty fun guy, but I got overly serious as my responsibilities multiplied. I compounded the problem by attracting a bunch of people around me who were also taking life too seriously. I am trying to surround myself with people who take their work and family seriously but refuses to take themselves so seriously. Fun buddies may be co-workers, golf buddies, or neighbors. With such men, we might participate in sports, share a hobby, or coach little league. When we leave them, we feel more alive because we recapture what it was like to be little boys without a care in the world.


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