Surround Yourself with Passionate People

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Last night I had an amazing dinner with my wife Eva and my friends Scott and Jesse and their wives Chelsea and Joanna.

The gathering itself was simple: six people, simple healthy food, a little wine, a little tea, nothing else. Except that we lost ourselves in conversation so deeply that before we knew it, it was 1:30 a.m. and I was shocked at how quickly the time had passed.

The secret is also simple: when you talk with people who are passionate about what they’re doing, passionate about life and the people they love, it is transformative.

The people I talked with last night are incredibly passionate about what they’re doing. And yes, Brett, I mean passionate: excited, fired-up, feeling-strongly-about, thinking-about-it-all-the-time, can’t-wait-to-do-it-when-you-wake-up passion. When you talk with people who are passionate like that, you can’t help but get fired up yourself. You want to go out and do something exciting.

Passionate people not only inspire you, they give you ideas. They read books by other people who are passionate and full of ideas, and they recommend the books to you or pass the ideas on to you. Scott and Jesse, for example, are constantly meeting other passionate people, and that inspires them … and in turn that inspires me. It’s fuel for an intense fire.

A nice side benefit is Scott & Chelsea and Jesse & Joanna are some of the most health-conscious people I know — the dinner was extremely healthy and delicious, and I went away even more inspired to get fit and live a healthy life. I love people like that.

I’ve met a lot of passionate, smart, inspired people since moving to San Francisco — people like Matt Mullenweg and Tynan and Corbett Barr and Oleg and Barron and more. It’s incredible to talk with people like that, and you can’t walk away from them without getting a bit revved up.

While I try to lead a life of minimalism, I’ve learned that minimalism can be done anywhere you go … and it doesn’t require that you move to a farm or give up your contact with people. Just the opposite: minimalism is about giving up consumption in favor of doing things you’re passionate about and having real relationships with a few people you really value. I’d much rather have a conversation with someone doing something amazing than go shopping.

You don’t have to live in a big city like New York or San Francisco to surround yourself with passionate people. They’re in small towns, but it might take a bit of looking to find them. Find small businesses who are doing amazing things, and talk with the people there. Look for startups, for artists and writers, for people who are obsessed with doing something really well.

If you can’t find them where you live, find them online. They’re everywhere if you look. Read books by people full of powerful ideas who are doing innovative things. Read their blogs, talk to them via email and Twitter. Start collaborating with people like that.

Be one of them, and inspire others.