I was recently listening to the Tim Ferriss show. Adam Grant and Tim Ferriss discuss the idea of challenge networks in episode #399.
The idea is simple — we all need support networks, and we’re encouraged to gather them, but what about people who will challenge your ideas to help you develop them further?
It’s the difference between a spouse saying you’re doing great at your artwork and the artist friend who is willing to give you honest critique. It helps you grow more than a support network ever will.
Don’t surround yourself with people who always agree with you. It’s true that we’re the average of the people we surround ourselves with, so it would be best to surround ourselves with a diverse group of people, especially those who don’t always agree with us.
Living in an echo chamber makes us narrow-minded. Look for the ones who can play devil’s advocate and challenge your beliefs, look for the middle ground with them (whenever possible), and try to see things from another perspective. It will make you more open-minded.
The key is finding a good set of people who will do their best to poke holes in your ideas without becoming abusive about it. There’s a fine line between challenging and downright mean.
So find the people who will challenge you without the abuse — you’ll live a more fulfilling, diverse, and creative life!