Surround yourself with Extraordinary People

What do you want to surround yourself with?
I wanted to write something for you about this, so I Googled “surround yourself with” and here is the advice that came up on the first page.

I agree.  I NEED to surround myself with the best, the extraordinary, so that I can become my best.  That’s easier said than done.  It takes work to attract and keep the best in your life, especially if you are looking for people who are better than you are.  I have spent the last five years of my life with that single-minded goal, to attract extraordinary people to the Village.  Our list of permanent residents is still small, but it includes people of extraordinary talents, skills, accomplishments, experiences and character traits.   To name a few, these highly accomplished people, all with post-graduate degrees in their field and stellar life accomplishments, include among their skills:  published philosopher and writer, chemist, plant geneticist, musician, Sr. business executive, successful entrepreneur, web developer, teacher, world travelers, electronics/communications expert, linguists, etc.  If you include those who have purchased land but have not yet built and moved in, the list becomes too long.  Overlaid on these skills are values of hard work, positive thinking, humility, mental toughness, creativity, generosity, mutual caring, independence, self-sufficiency and a strong desire to be part of a cohesive, sharing community.

Have you noticed that on my website, the request for information page includes a text box that asks an unusual question?  “Tell us a little about why you are interested in living in the Village on Sewanee Creek and what you would bring to the community as a neighbor.”  Do you know of ANY other developments where land is offered for sale, but applicants are asked to justify their contribution in terms other than dollars?

I don’t refer to myself as a “developer”.   My primary focus is building this community, so my business card says simply “founder”.  Unlike developers whose work focuses exclusively on subdividing, meeting government codes and selling, I actually live here and have different, vested, personal interests.  So I spend the bulk of my time blogging to attract extraordinary people, then interviewing and observing to understand whether they would be happy and contribute here.  When a person buys land in the Village, only a little of the value they are getting is in dirt, trees, creeks and a nice view.  They are buying years of my single-minded labor to assemble a community, a circle of extraordinary people.  For some, it is hard to recognize tangible dollar value in that.  Those who think the above quotes are only nice platitudes won’t join us in the Village.   They are unlikely to commit to the lifestyle we aspire to or even discover my website with its carefully crafted key search words.  And that is good.  We aren’t looking for average people who have money but don’t get it.

For those who strive to surround themselves with greatness, with people who will lift you higher, people who are like-minded, passionate, intelligent, creative and so on, to these the beautiful land is a nice incidental.

That Village residents understand and value this was recently demonstrated to me by one of them.  We were on an outing together to Nashville to see my favorite play, Les Miserable.  As we drove together I took the opportunity to discuss some community business.  I mentioned that property values in the Village have stayed significantly higher than any nearby as indicated by recent sales.  I sought their views on changes to the covenants because I want to make them as minimally restrictive as I can while maintaining the beauty, tranquility and productivity of the Village.  A Villager with two young children dismissed higher property values.  “Resale value is irrelevant to me”, he said.  “I plan to live here the rest of my life.”  Then he added, “I just want to be sure you will continue to be selective with the quality of my new neighbors.”  BTW, this young, extraordinary man is our post-graduate philosopher/writer/entrepreneur and I would say he gets it.

7 thoughts on “Surround yourself with Extraordinary People

  1. A house built without mortar or nails will not long withstand the ravages of time and environment. The “common folk” of “lesser accomplishment and goals” are the mortar and nails of a durable and life-worthy structure – house or community. And who are the “common folk”..? Everyone and no one.

    I’m not sure that you are really building a community. You appear to be a collector of individuals with specific accomplishments; yet, whose assembly and fit within your collection may be your undoing, and that of your collection and community.


  2. Thank you for your excellent comment, James. You offer an important challenge.

    You might be surprised at some of the more “common” qualities of Villagers. Among their most important character traits, these people, despite accomplishments, are willing to get their hands dirty in the rough and simple work of raising one’s own food or the creativity to build mechanical solutions to simple, practical problems or to build their own house or help build a neighbor’s barn.

    It would be an impossible task to assemble a group limited to specific skill sets as you suggest. I don’t attempt it. Attitude is of greater importance than specific skills or accomplishments, but the best indicator of attitude is what one has done, even more importantly, what one continues to relentlessly pursue even when they aren’t paid for doing it..

    A common Villager character trait is that they don’t recognize their own greatness. They are the humble salt of the earth. They recognize the value of others and don’t want to go it alone. If humility, hard work, and a commitment to strive for excellence are insufficient nails and mortar, if the common ingredients to the mortar you speak of is indifference, indolence and ignorant pride or even ostentatious displays of meaningless consumption, I have happily left that house or community to those who have a greater appreciation for it.

    As a novice builder who has experimented with different construction methods, I have tried skimping on costs by using inferior mortar and nails and I have found the results to be consistently poor. If my sin is a desire to strive for something better, I am guilty as charged and am willing to accept the consequences along with people who believe as I do.


  3. Sewanee Creek is one of the most beautiful, and peaceful places here on this earth.
    It is the absolute perfect place to achieve self sufficiency. Its away from the busy
    hectic, rat race life. Sweanee Creek has some of the best people I know that live there.
    I would love to be one of them at some point when we can semi retire and enjoy the
    great life of peace and serenity. If you want to enjoy nature, enjoy peace and beauty and
    wonderful people you owe it to yourself to check out this wonderful part of the world.
    You will be glad you did.
    Teri Headrick


  4. Hello everyone : ) Merry Meet, I’m very happy to begin a journey with other like-minded people. I’m from Lehi, Utah and Looking forward to becoming a part of this community, as soon as I can. Please feel free to add me as your friend as I’m looking forward to meeting you.



  5. People influence and impact each other for good or or bad. They can help us or hurt us. They can play either a positive role or a negative role in our lives. People can either have a positive, uplifting, encouraging and inspiring influence and impact on ourselves, our lives, our happiness, growth, potentinal, and success. They can also have the oppostive influence and impact. Who we spend a lot time with and surround ourselves with will often determine who we become, what our future will be like, if we get closer to reaching our own potentinal and dreams. As Mark Twain once stated, ” do not associate with those who belittle your ambitions, for those who are small minded always will do this, but rather associate with those who help you feel bigger.


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