How to Combat Loneliness as a Growth Mindset Individual
“I bet you feel loneliest after you leave a social gathering with your friends” I said to the young lady.
“YES!” She screamed back at me, with a glint in her eyes. As she shouted a couple of other people in the bar looked around at us to see what was going on, which was quite amusing.
But what said much more than that three-letter word was that glint in her eyes. It’s that glint that says, I’ve always felt this way and thought it was just me, that there was something wrong with me, but you’ve just shown me this is universal and understood completely.
We Unpacked Loneliness vs. Aloneness
Now we’re going to dive deeper into a trend that doesn’t receive nearly enough attention. Loneliness for people who are entrepreneurial and have what is described as a ‘growth mindset’, or deep-thinking tendency.
If you are this sort of person, you’ll resonate deeply with today’s learnings as I have. We’ll unpack the Utility-Consumption Model and how it relates to people like you in particular.
If you are feeling lonely, or feel you lack a community of like-minded people, we’re going to create clarity around what you can do about it.
The Unfortunate Truth about Friends You Have Disconnect With
The conversation I referenced at the start is typically one I have more and more these days. It’s very predictable, and I get a lot of joy out of seeing that glint in people’s eyes.
Someone gets me!
If you remember this graph, when we begin an ‘internal Thousand Doors Journey’ we shrink in the overlap we have with our existing friends – friends who are largely inherited by geography and shared experiences or contexts like family, school or work.
It makes sense
If you are heavily into reading, self-development, personal growth and self-awareness, you are going to start thinking differently to your existing friends. This means your interests and values will shift more than theirs do.
This is what I mean by an ‘internal Thousand Doors Journey’ – a compounding change in your personal development, in your mindset, whilst everyone else continues to think within the same boxes (Full explanation of box-thinking available at Without-The-Box Thinking).
Unfortunately, this difference will only get greater over time.
That gap only gets larger over time – it is exactly how I felt when I began doing unique projects like From the Ground Up and Doohat Labs. I didn’t lose any of my old friends but I naturally started seeing them less often, and found unconsciously that more time was being allocated to other people.
There is a reason famous people all know and are friends with each other. They have more overlap, think more similarly, and have more in common.
If you were to do the Interest Mapping Exercise and list all of your current interests, you would find that your list gets larger and larger over time.
That makes sense as you’re continually learning and opening more doors. The natural desire is then to find people with whom you can share these new interests with!
But maybe your high school friends aren’t into Jordan Peterson lectures or Simon Sinek books. Maybe they’ve never heard of The 4 Hour Work Week or Brene Brown!
You send them links, youtube videos, and reference it in conversations at breakfast and at bars, but you only get ‘seens’ or furrowed eyebrows.
How do we make Relationships?
Relationships will typically come from some combination of three factors:
- Shared Experiences
- Shared Values
- Shared Interests
Shared Experiences are where our first relationships come from. Family is the shared experience of a home and DNA. It’s always fun to look at your family and ask if you’d be friends with them if you didn’t live together and weren’t related. Sometimes yes, sometimes no!
Just because you went to school with someone or grew up with them, does not mean they will be a Friend-Soulmate and share your most important interests and values for the rest of your life.
These are the relationships where conversations will go over what you’re up to, who’s doing what, gossip and reminiscing on shared memories and experiences.
But if values and interests are too far apart, these relationships will often be frustrating.
The Challenge for Growth Mindset Individuals
So shared experience relationships are easy to find – they are often local. The challenge for growth mindset people is that they go on the Internal Thousand Doors Journey alone, by reading books, listening to podcasts and self-directed learning.
Not only that, but these people are often entrepreneurial and the demands of such work are further isolating…
When I spent more of my time dedicated to Sydney Listings, a real estate company, I mainly met people who worked in property.
These people were not my age and they did not have the same overlap in values and interests. Because of the demands of starting a business, I spent a lot of time working and was too burnt out by the weekend to think about finding a community of younger people to connect with.
It’s important to know if you’re an entrepreneur – not all business people are open-minded, ‘growth mindset’ people!
So the challenge is finding the new relationships you need when these people are not necessarily local.
Which relationships do you turn the volume up and down on?
I consider myself to be a very lucky young man in that I’ve managed to regularly maintain all of my meaningful friendships from school so far. There are hardly any people I can think of that I’ve completely dropped off contact with.
I think that’s rare, and that it’s a gift. I appreciate these friendships as much as ever!
But what’s different is that I become more and more aware of negative feelings I often get after hanging out with groups of friends. This is not the case when I socialise one-on-one or in smaller groups, but in a larger group dynamic, conversation topics regress to a sort of mean and are rarely as deep, meaningful, and personal.
As overlaps shrink because your interests grow, the volume on some relationships and groups of friends naturally gets turned down. Your work and your learning is meaningful to you and so you start protecting this time, not trading it away for just any casual get-together.
It’s important consciously or unconsciously to turn the volume down on some relationships and groups, to make room for what resonates more with you. This leaves room to turn the volume up on other relationships.
Start finding more like-minded people.
If you do feel at odds in this way, I recommend you check out Build Community or Die Tryin’. Having high utility friendships is essential – not optional.
The point I made in Loneliness vs. Aloneness was that building the right sense of connection around you doesn’t just make you feel better but it enables you to do more.
The same is even more true for people with a growth mindset. These are the people who can help you compound your learning, give you feedback on your work, collaborate with and connect you with more people.
This is the very power we try to facilitate at Doohat Labs with our creative group projects. The whole is well and truly greater than the some of the parts – so please, open doors by bringing the great parts together.