Who makes you better?


There’s one small thing you can focus on—that always gets overlooked—to ensure that you not just live a good life, but a great one.

Take a close look at the people you spend your time with and ask yourself this question, “Do they make me better?

Asking myself this question as a college student changed the trajectory of my life.

At the end of my sophomore season on the track and field team at Western Michigan University, I was struggling and on the verge of getting cut from the roster. That was until my head coach pointed out the problem staring me in the face, but one I was unable to see.

“Antonio, we have two All-Americans on our team,” he said. “But I’ve never seen you practice with either of them.”

I stumbled to respond.

“Instead, you’re spending time with those guys,” he said pointing to the high jump mat where some of my teammates were horsing around. They were not All-Americans.

Then he walked away.

This brief, one way conversation hit me like a sledgehammer because I wasn’t surrounding myself with greatness, with people who made me better.

At its core, the question of Who makes you better? requires us to identify our Thieves of Ambition and Allies of Glory.

Thieves of Ambition are those people who question your motives, support mediocrity, are afraid of success, enable your excuses, and accept the status quo. They suck you dry.

Allies of Glory are people that support you, encourage you, challenge you, hold you accountable, and push you to give your all. They invest in helping you become the best version of yourself.

Identifying my Allies of Glory and Thieves of Ambition on my track and field team wasn’t difficult. What was challenging was consistently aligning myself with my Allies of Glory. Why? Because spending time with them required discipline, hard work, and commitment in order for me to fit in. It required me to give something I wasn’t use to. My all.

In just under a year of surrounding myself with Allies of Glory, the results were astounding. I went from being on the verge of getting cut, to becoming an All-Conference triple jumper.

No, I never became an All-American, but I learned what it took to be a champion and how to apply these concepts to life everyday.

The concept of who makes you better? exists far beyond sports. It plays an integral role in our lives, careers and relationships. It is often the difference between success and failure.

Sometimes getting the results we crave means stripping ourselves of people that don’t serve our best interests. That way we can make space for those who support us in being who it is we say we want to become.

It all starts with the question, “Who makes you better?

Don’t be afraid to work with the best, otherwise you’ll only be as good as you’ve always been.

Antonio Neves is a speaker, entrepreneur and award-winning business journalist who uses insightful storytelling and humor to inspire young leaders to create their own luck. Through his dynamic keynotes, your students won’t only be motivated, they’ll also walk away with action steps to take to get the best results in college, life and in their careers.

Visit campuspeak.com/neves to learn more.