A-Listers Only

The other day I introduced a new central tenet of mine, something I’ve only recently come to understand that I fully intend to stick with for life.

The basic premise was to only associate yourself, whenever it’s within your control, with “A-Listers.” I’m not talking about A-Listers in the sense that they’re famous or celebrities, but in the sense that they’re winners, people who are striving and wake up each day thinking “What can I do?” rather than focusing on all the things they can’t. People who are happy more often than not and highly engaged in what they’re doing. People who find solutions to problems and, upon bumping up against something they don’t know how to do, make damn sure they learn in a hurry.

A-Listers come from all walks of life – none of this has anything to do with money – although A-Listers will typically be doing alright for themselves by any method in which they personally measure success (friendships, family relations, physical health, mental wellness, career fulfillment etc). Being amongst and around these people is key, staying clear of the C-Listers and D-Listers can be even more crucial.

And now that I’ve made the realization that this is so important, I’m starting to recognize how many notable people have adopted a similar way of life.  From an excellent interview about leadership, here’s LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner with an important piece of professional and life advice:

surround yourself with amazing people, only the best. In this day and age, in this more global society, in this more networked, interconnected world we live in, it’s just all about the people you work with. I used to think it was all about the person you worked for, having the right mentor, the right leader, someone who believed in you, someone who would allow you to make mistakes and take risks and teach you and coach you. It’s not just about the person you report to, though. It’s about the people you work with and the people who report to you. It’s about everyone you’re associated with, day in and day out. Surround yourself with only the best you can find.

Now the hard part is recognizing when I myself am not acting like an A-Lister – and correcting it immediately before people begin distancing themselves from me! It’s also not easy to cut ties with people you’ve got history with when you recognize that they are a drag on your happiness and your time. But we’ve got one life to live and only a couple of decades of our prime in which to make a dent in this world.

You’d be amazed at what happens and how much more time you have for being productive once you’ve decided to run with winners and upbeat, capable people. It’s truly transformative.


In Sports or Business, Always Prepare for the Next Play (New York Times)

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