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Cliché but true: you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

I’ll never forget my first group project at Johns Hopkins.

You know those memes and horror stories about how much group projects in college suck? How there’s always a slacker? How Type A people always pull the bulk of the weight because of their high expectations (and anal-retentive ways)?

Yeah, not at Hopkins.

My first group project there was a sprint towards perfection and iterations upon iterations. Everyone had high-expectations. Everyone was anal-retentive. No one wanted to hand over the reins.

But by nature of being such a high-performing group, we elevated each others performance.

Years later, I found the same principles to be true in my management consulting firms: the higher prestige the firm, the better the talent. The better the talent, the more we pushed each other to level up.

Top Achievers know that there are two big benefits of going to schools like Harvard:

  1. The obvious benefit is access to world-class facilities, instructors and resources.
  2. But the less obvious benefit is the elevated performance you demonstrate by being around people who go to Harvard – people who are driven to do their best possible work.

As humans, we tend to anchor our success to those around us.

Someone making $50,000 a year is thrilled if everyone around him makes $25,000 a year, but miserable if everyone around him makes $100,000 a year.

It’s natural to feel like a superstar if you’re the only person in your immediate circle with a college degree, but if your inner circle is made up of MD’s and PhD’s, let’s face it – you’ll feel like a slacker.

I’m always looking for a way to get to the next level (and there is always a next level): That’s why over the past year alone, I’ve invested at least $10,000 in courses and mentorship/group programming, and thousands of hours into learning.

We can’t control the family we’re born into, and it can definitely be harder for some to create a high-quality network when you're starting from scratch.

But, thanks to an increasingly connected world, it’s getting easier to find your tribe of like-minded people.

Even if you can’t change your immediate environment, you can lean into the teaching from those at the next level.

It's 2018: we have an abundance of social networks, online learning opportunities and ways to connect with people who share our interests, passions, and drive.

A Top Achiever wouldn't complain about not having people around them who are interested in, let’s say, entrepreneurship, or data science, or self-improvement.

Top Achievers actively seek out the information and knowledge and networks that they want to be a part of. In fact, here’s a snapshot into just a few of my personal investments over the past ~12 months:

  • $9,000+ on I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Growth Lab and other performance/learning courses, with a focus on how to start a business, how to be a more successful consultant, how to improve your copywriting skills, and general personal development.
  • $1,000+ on books, some of my favorites being: Tribe of Mentor, Tools of Titans, and The Triple Package
  • $1,000+ on data science courses and certifications

I could've complained about how "I just don't know how to do this" or "No one I know cares about this." But instead - I built or joined teams and groups of people who were on the same path I wanted to be on, and I invested in learning from leaders who've been where I want to go.

If you don’t find yourself inspired by the people around you, ask yourself: what can I do to shift those circles? How can I invest in myself to benefit from the learning and teachings of those who have taken paths that I aspire to?

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