We each walk around day to day with loads of information in our minds, and we communicate with various individuals. I've recently decided to categorize the people in my life, platonically placing them in three buckets according to their brandwidth and ability to positively influence others.
I think of everyone as a nugget. The plain nuggets are the people who I recognize merely as acquaintances. I see them, I know them, we make small talk. Nothing more, nothing less. We may work together and exchange a small and brief "how are you?" in the hallway or elevator. There may be a spurt of emotion when I interact with them. It can be on social media through sharing a hilarious meme, posting a status followed by complete-sentence-hashtags, or leaving a shamelessly witty comment on someone else's update. Basically, brief, shallow interactions. The plain nuggets are valuable, but I don't need them. And they don't need me.
The golden-brass (GB) nuggets are those I have a history with or some kind of personal tie. We may have gone to school together, took dance lessons together, or played games on the front porch during hot summer days. There is more connecting us than trivial coincidental details. My GB nuggs are ones I can go months or years without face-to-face interaction, yet if they call me at 2am in need, I'll be there. There's loyalty here.
Finally, the smallest, yet most impactful, bucket is the platinum nuggets. I could count my platinum nuggets on one hand. They've been my associates for the least amount of time, but with their great inclusive nature, they have created a relationship that transcends small talk and shallow online interactions. These individuals constantly share their resources, so simply being in their presence is all you need to become motivated and refreshed. It is safe to be vulnerable around these nuggs. They are leaders who uplift, not direct.
I visited one of my platinum nuggets a few days ago. I arrived in her office feeling demotivated and mentally fatigued. I left with a great opportunity that will push me out of my comfort zone, challenges me, and makes me feel valued. We spoke for about 40 minutes. During our conversation, she fed me extraordinary ideas, things that push the envelope, things that stretch people intellectually and spiritually. I shared with her my feelings of being stuck and unable to get moving in a meaningful direction. She said jokingly, "you aren't buttering your bread." I laughed, but honestly thought I had been "buttering my bread." I work full-time, take graduate courses part-time, I read, I meditate, I workout, etc. etc. But somehow, I am not full. She proceeded to make a phone call to another woman (potential platinum nugget) that can help mentor me. Instantly, I felt uplifted. I know I have a lot of work to do, and some of it scares me, but I feel guided.
How many people can do that for you? Extend their network to yours? Give you a greater sense of value than you already have? That's powerful. That is elite.
All of my nuggets serve a purpose. The universe placed them to make life abundant. As we move through our lives, continuing to be lifelong learners, it is important to know exactly how others serve you. Not everyone is a platinum nugget, in fact, there are very few. When you find one, keep them close.