On Heroes, Vampires, and Bystanders

Updated: July 27, 2023

We are social creatures.

Even if you believe you’re a loner or an introvert, I bet there are still people whom you choose to talk or spend time with more often than others.

In addition, we normally hang out with people whom we share similar interests with; and try to avoid those whom we find uninteresting or whose character is not aligned with our principles.

Now, take a moment to think about your social circle.

I dare you to list down all the names of your family, friends, and colleagues whom you get to spend time, or even just talk to online, at least two hours each week.

Go ahead, do it now.


Done with the list? Great!

You should know that you are the average of all these people.

Yes, if you can quantify, sum up and divide the passion, drive, and level of success of all the people you constantly interact with in your social network (both offline and online), the result will be your own passion, drive, and level of success.

Try to imagine, analyze and see if I am correct in this assumption.

Am I right to say that you are the average of all the people you regularly spend time with?

If so, then it means that if you want to be successful, then you have to spend more time with people who have greater passions, higher drives, and better levels of success than you.

Qualify Your Social Circle

Go back to your list, and encircle the names of those who give you inspiration. The people who provide optimism and supply you with motivation to follow your dreams. They are your “heroes” that provide you with the aspiration to become better.

Now, put an X-mark beside the names of those who give you more negativity than positive energy. These are people who complain a lot, who always see the “half-empty” glass, and who rarely give encouragement to you. They are your “vampires” that slowly drain the life out of you.

The remaining people are the “bystanders.” They are the ones who watch you on the sidelines. They may be ready to help and support you but would probably never initiate any action unless you ask them to.

Once you’re done with this, you can now proceed to the most difficult part of this exercise.

Move Up Your Average

Resolve to spend more time with your heroes and less time with your vampires; better if you can totally avoid them.

No, I’m not telling you to ditch your friends who are going through a rough time in their life and whom you may be supplying “energy” to. Most vampires, whom I’m telling you to avoid, are the fair-weathered friends, relatives, and acquaintances who give you nothing but a false sense of relationship. I know, you know, who I mean.

Next, seek out more heroes and forge new friendships in your life. These people are everywhere and are actually easy to find. Start with your own heroes, and ask them to introduce you to their friends. But also go out, network, and meet new people.

As you add more people with “higher scores” than you and take out those who drag you down – expect your own average to increase, along with the quality of your life.

If you can do it, then I guarantee that you’ll have a better attitude towards work, have a deeper motivation to succeed, and encounter more opportunities in your life.

Yes, success will be within your reach.


Paying It Forward

Now, remember your bystanders?

Yes, they’re still there – most probably just watching and cheering you on for your success. Do them a huge favor and invite them to “join the parade.” In short, pay it forward and be the hero they need.

In the grand scheme of things, transforming your bystanders to become heroes themselves will increase your own average as well.

And in the end, not only were you able to change and improve your life, but you also became a hero and helped others to change theirs for the better as well.

Who are your heroes? Your vampires? Your bystanders?

More importantly, to the people that matter to you most, are you their hero? Their vampire? Or just a bystander to them?

This post is part of the series “On Money, Friends and Family

Photo credits: 1uplego and pedrovezini


  1. Great post Sir Fitz! The notion “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are’ isn’t entirely accurate for some. Some thrive in isolation and look to books and seminars and reflection for their “heroes”. Some are even more “explosive” and “powerful” in a crowd. But the whole premise, being the person you are, or will become, is all up to you.

  2. Thanks for this great post Fitz! Recently, I’ve experienced letting a lot of HEROES into my life and I must say my life has been transformed for the better because of it.

  3. I agree with Anthony Dones’ comment. Some people really thrive in isolation because books and online courses are their sources of inspiration and motivation. They may seem isolated but these authors, speakers and/or teachers become part of their social network of heroes.

    In my opinion, we are the average of what we “choose” to become. We can still hang out with bystanders, vampires or heroes and yet not influenced by them making us not their “combined average.”

  4. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    And I agree, we can likewise get inspiration and consider the authors of books we read, and mentors whom we follow – as our heroes too. 😀

    Tara, hang out tayo sa IMG office, tapos libre moko ng waffle sa Pancake House sa baba. Hehe. Am just fixing my sked, but hopefully soon, I’ll be able to go to IMG more regularly. Kita kits! 😀

  5. I would have to emphasize Elvin’s point here as I feel it best captures my thoughts. Being the average of who we “choose” to become. Sometimes those we spend time with don’t necessarily influence us significantly, but we can choose to be greatly influenced by people outside our physical social circles and end up rising to be heroes through their teachings and example.

  6. Candidly, the majority of EX-pats I have met (and yes, I am an EX-pat) are not my kind of people. A few had a great run during their working years but now many of them concentrate more on when will cocktail hour start than anything else. You could say that I am becoming more introverted as time passes? Where I have found inspiration most often is among the working poor. Many have exceptional skills, are super honest and to me have the makings of great entrepreneurs. All that is missing are details like where to get capital, a good person to partner with or some business basics. It has been a real passion of my wife and I since we started as a couple to help folks who want to succeed build something for a better future. We find it far more rewarding than listening to someone “half in the bag” bragging about what they did twenty years ago or worse, the size of their retirement checks.

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