There’s a concept in economics called Creative Destruction. Basically, the idea is that when things stagnate in a country – often economically – it takes massive disruption of the existing order to improve things and promote growth. Think of it like a forest where the trees are so densely packed together that no sun reaches through the upper branches, and everything on the floor starts to rot – until a fire or other disaster clears some space, and things can start to grow again.
This works in other areas, although it’s often not very pleasant. Genghis Khan, for instance, is credited with bringing huge swathes of Asia into one political system, allowing increased trade and communication between the West and East. He did that by destroying the stagnant, tribe-run system that was preventing progress – but on a more basic level, he did it by catapulting palm trees into besieged cities, using captives as human shields and being indirectly responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. Historians argue about his influence, but you can’t deny that he was a bit of a shit.
The good news is, you don’t have to go that far. The bad news is that if things are stagnant, rotten or otherwise not working properly in your life, you’re going to need to wreak some Creative Destruction to fix it.
How? Here’s one way. Dozens of coaches, thinkers, business leaders and thinkers will tell you that you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time around. If they’re proactive, healthy, kickass people who get things done: great. If they aren’t, you might be in trouble. When you embark on any sort of lifestyle change, some people are bound to try and hold you back – they’ll ask why you’re wasting your time at the gym, why you can’t go for beers every night, or why you’re spending all your time writing/reading/training instead of being up for all-day Call Of Duty marathons like you used to. They might even tell you that you’ve ‘changed.’
You might have to destroy these people. Not literally: I can’t stress that enough. But if they won’t change, or stop criticising you for trying to make changes, then at the very least you need to spend less time with them. If they’re relentless, you might need to cut them out of your friendship circle altogether. Because if the path you’re on is the right one (and hopefully you’ve done some research, so you think it is) – then they aren’t your friends for trying to keep you away from it. Catapult them out of your life, and make room for growth.
HOMEWORK: Write down the names of the five people you socialise with the most. Decide whether they help you, or hold you back. Act accordingly. And listen to Dan Carlin’s Wrath Of Khan podcast – it’ll make the most ruthless thing you can possibly do seem pretty tame.