People you want to meet in 20 years (the camaraderie principle)

3 min readOct 15, 2019
Picture courtesy — Luc Van for Unsplash

Will this be so special that you will remember it 20 years later?

A few months back, when the IPL was going on, I was seeing a show where panelists were discussing what made the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) such a special team.

Of all the teams in the IPL since its inception in 2008, CSK has managed to build the most rabid fan base and that has been built around their talismanic leader Mahendra Singh Dhoni. With Dhoni’s career in its twilight, it remains to be seen if CSK minus Dhoni will generate the same manic fervour.

In the show, one of the panelists said something that caught my ear. He said (paraphrasing) “this is a team you will see in 20-year reunions”. What he meant was that the players of the side seem to share a close bond when compared to many other IPL teams.

That statement was fascinating, and this is how I interpreted it — be with people who you will be happy to see in 20-year reunions.

Happy teams are very different from unhappy and disengaged teams. When a happy team disperses, they still carry with them great memories of their time together. When they meet each other after ages, they can pick up from where they left off.

On the other hand, unhappy teams are slow train wrecks careening towards eventual disaster.

The missing link between happy and unhappy teams is camaraderie.

You can’t invent or generate camaraderie, though many people try to.

Camaraderie is genuine. It’s understanding.

When there is camaraderie, obstacles seem insurmountable.

Camaraderie makes drudgery bearable and makes the good times even better.

One of the best tests of camaraderie is what happens when the chips are down.

That’s when true feelings tumble out of the woodwork.

When you are a part of a team where people have your back, it’s liberating and allows you to do your best work.

Years from now, you won’t remember some random office party — there are too many of those. Rather, what you will recollect is someone who helped you come through in a moment of crisis, someone who lifted you, someone who backed you, someone who unexpectedly pushed you out of your comfort zone and made you realize something about yourself.

The same goes for how others will remember you.

Think of the people you will be glad to run into tomorrow. What did they do to make you feel that way? Now think of the people you never want to run into and regret ever having met in the first place. What did they do to make you feel that way?

We can’t always control every encounter and every person we meet. But all of us are inherently aware of the people we are glad we met. We treasure them and wish we could work with them forever. Of course, that isn’t possible, but that’s what camaraderie does — makes you wish the ride never ends.

The other extreme is waiting to get out of the clutches of a team that made you feel unwanted and insecure.

When you’re happy to see someone at a 20-year reunion, it’s usually because they made you feel good about something. Or because you built something together. Or because you came together to create something you will remember.

Wherever possible, try working with and doing business with people you will be glad to run into 20 years later.