They say, “I am Extrovert” or “I am Introvert“—like a title—as if that single word describes who they are. And then there are some who are too shy to limit themselves of possible identities, so they identify themselves with an all “ambiverttitle.

I have had the privilege of interviewing thousands of youth and conversing with many more.

And they never let me down. Every. Single. Time.

And why not? Most of us spend our lives circling ourselves around a handful of people who we are comfortable with (comfortably tolerating?). Hence, impacting and being impacted by those handfuls.

And if you are comfortable where you are, you are unaware of what exists outside those closed doors. Then, the entire world of opportunities—gems—are meaningless stones to you because opportunities are threats to your comfort.

Yet imagine how would life be if you knew who to reach out to for a better opportunity? Better yet what if someone with a better opportunity finds the right fit—you?

Here are three ways you can build your circles right, so opportunity comes running to you.

1. Create a hobby circle (Comfort circle)

These clusters* of people make you feel good about yourself. You are at ease (comfortable) in their presence. You need these people in your life to feed affirmation into your life. They share your hobbies and they love it as much as (if not more than) you do.

Did you know? The more ‘hobby circles’ you develop, at any given time you are likely to be at more ease than your peers and likely to be more noticed.

Zainab Syed Ahmed

Like I remember the first thing I did upon enrolling into BRAC University was finding my comfort circle. So, I got myself enrolled into the BRAC University Adventure Club (BUAC). This circle of people I hung around with for the next four years of my university life were my bedrock and we all shared a common trait—a hunger to not only travel, but feel alive and deeply connected to the nature, our motherland, Bangladesh, as we thrived on limited resources.

So, what’s your hobby circle?

Without these people, your life is food without ever discovering your favourite one.

2. Create an inner circle (Reflective circle)

These clusters* of people are those you can be vulnerable with, who will lend you a shoulder to cry on. They are those who remind you of your dreams, principles, and purpose of life. They show how you fit into the bigger picture. You can always count on them to wake you up when you are in a living nightmare. And shake you up when you are messing up your life. And ruining the life of someone else.

They beat the hell out of your time and berate and lecture you on how to become your noblest version. These people usually take the shape of some family members or some close friends from childhood.

Did you know? The deeper your ‘inner circle’, the greater you are anchored during the troubled times in your life.

Zainab Syed Ahmed

However, most of the youth are afraid to develop this circle because of trust issues. But the reality is it takes countless hours of patience and perseverance to nurture and mould such golden relationships. This is the one circle that takes time—a heaven lot of time and effort and a list of failures and missed opportunities—to develop into a flexible, trustworthy shape. 

Without these people, your life is food without fragrance.

3. Create a growth circle (Challenging circle)

These clusters* of people challenge the hell out of you—every waking minute of the day and make sleep feel like a forgotten soldier. The thought of them makes your heart pound, mind restless because one mistake in front of them holds a higher invisible stake to your heart. Anticipating a minute with them takes a preparation worth of a battle. You feel you have to go many miles at supersonic speeds to meet them where they are at. They make you feel you have a lot to prove and improve on.

Did you know? Most people let wrong people into their ‘growth circle’; hence, making poor career decisions.

Zainab Syed Ahmed

However, you must choose this circle with care and not let wrong people wander into it unguarded. Because these people will develop your future character, habits and personality. So plant yourself amidst those whom you aspire to be. In whose presence you feel that adrenaline rush—you feel alive—and grateful to have them in your life!

Without these people, your life is food without spice.

So, expand your circle. That will expand your own bandwidth. Expanding your own bandwidth means you will learn new ways of perceiving and analysing situations. They say, you are the sum total of five people you spend most of your time with. So, it is incumbent upon you to select your people appropriately so you can develop yourself through them. Who you are now, and who you become in the next few minutes depends heavily on how you spend your time and who you spend your time with.

I hope this article sheds light on the importance of viewing yourself as more than a single word. You are the product of such relationships so you can thrive every single day of your life.

* Note: Clusters here refer to having a variety of people within a single circle. For example, one cluster can be age—having some who are junior, some 5-10 years senior and most of them within your age bracket. You can redefine your cluster to people from different social backgrounds, economic backgrounds, gender, educational mediums, race, etc. to benefit most from that relationship.

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