When we choose people to be with we follow two simple principles sometimes even without consciously realizing it. We select people for two main reasons: the comfort and the challenge. Obviously, we get acquainted with most of the people around us because we feel comfortable with them. They are often like us, share similar interests, experiences and general views on life which is fine until you begin thinking about self-development. To improve yourself you need to be around people who are not like you.

Comfort zone

Throughout life we subconsciously get close with those who we have something in common. We start to make friends at school, college, university, meet them at social functions and so on. These are the people we generally feel confident in. The downside of this approach is that when we socialize with them we don’t grow as individuals. To grow as an individual you need to change (I’m sure you were aware of that fact). This will require you to get out of your comfort zone and meet people you would otherwise hadn’t crossed the paths with. To become rich you have to hang around those who are rich, remember?

You are the average out of 5 people you spend the most time with.

Self-improvement

What happens when you meet new people who are different to you? You have to face a challenge which starts the moment you are introduced. You than have to somehow find a way to deal with them, their principles, worldviews and so on in the process of communication. It might be frustrating, demanding, disappointing but the end result is well worth it. Out of such a challenge you will come out an improved, better informed and more flexible individual than you ever were before that encounter.

The partnership

Often when choosing a partner people want to find someone who are just like them. It is clear why they do it - they seek for peace. Who wants to be around an alien with unfamiliar habits, attitudes and other attributes? No one and it makes sense until you think deeper! When the two find peace they suddenly notice that they get bored with each other quite soon because both of them have stopped evolving the moment they got together.

On the other hand, two different people will keep learning from each other for the rest of their lives. They will complement each other as each brings different strengths to the table. This is also the main reason behind the group work which involves several specialists of various backgrounds. Somebody needs to be a manager while others take care of the details. Surely, a company can hire two managers but no work would be done that way despite their ability to perfectly understand each other.

We are free to choose our social circle based on what we look for. The question is if we are looking for comfort or peace? People similar to us will be those we rest with while only strangers will be able transform us into better individuals.