You become like the place you are in

I love Paul Grahams essay ”Cities have ambition”. Moving around as a digital nomad I experienced this. Some places simply made it easier to do certain types of activities. I think the key is that other people are doing the same thing.

If you hang out with some people who love drinking coffee you will naturally meet them at coffee shops. Maybe the coffee shops tend to cluster in certain neighbourhoods. You probably even end up meeting them earlier in the day, since drinking coffee at night is usually not a good idea.

But if you instead hand out with people who love drinking beer, you’d naturally meet them in bars instead of cafes. Perhaps the bars are not in the same streets as the cafes. I would bet that they do not share the same opening hours, which means you’d be more likely to meet these people at nights.

Over time the activity shapes not just your life, but the neighbourhood. You end up spending your time in the places, and with the people, that do the same thing.

This simple way of framing it makes something blindingly obvious, if you want to spend time on some specific activity, you will find it much easier if you spend time with other people with that same ambition. If you don’t do this, you might end up having habits that are detrimental to what you’re trying to do. Your network of friends might make it easy to start a bar, but not a cafe.

I have not actively tried to shape my life like this. Most of my friends are random. And the activities we do range from boardgames to starting companies. But I suspect I will get more out of life by choosing deliberately which activities, and which places, I spend more time in.