Yeah people, what are you, in fact, doing?
According to the George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic, the answer is:
“Standing on the verge of getting it on”, except that’s not the case for most of us (whatever your definition of ‘getting it on may be’).
Most people merely toil through life, never really getting ahead very much.
And one of the biggest reason for that stagnation?
People. Specifically, the people we hang out with.
And no, this isn’t one of those ‘you become the sum total of the 5 people you spend most time with’ articles.
Problem is, your five closest contacts do have an influence, but so does everybody else in your environment – even those that you’ve never met.
Why? Because science.
Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler studied the data from a very large health study, and found something extremely interesting:
If a friend of yours becomes obese, you yourself are 45% more likely to gain weight in the next 2 to 4 years.
That’s not too far-fetched, since norms rub off: if someone else starts behaving in a certain way, there’s a real chance this will change your norms and affect your behaviour.
But where it gets interesting, is when a friend of your friend becomes obese.
According to the data, in that case, you are still 20% more likely to gain weight.
And if a friend of a friend of a friend becomes obese?
Then you still have 10% more risk of gaining weight.
So yeah, you should only hang out with skinny people who hang out with skinny people. (that’s how science works, right?)
Seriously though: the ‘5 people’ notion is nice, but there’s a ton more social influence acting upon you.
And you better believe that all that combined influence is stronger than you (sorry, but it’s true).
Just consider that the single most important factor in whether or not an addict stays clean after rehab is… the people they hang out with.
No matter the resolve, or the quality of treatment, or the decades spent sober, or the cost of addiction (divorce, bankruptcy, health etc etc): when an addict goes back to their old circle, it’s nearly impossible to stay clean.
In my CRD framework, the second module deals with how you manage your energy and your inner state.
People (pillar 4 of the system) have a massive, direct, unavoidable influence on your state and your energy.
And your energy is finite, it gets used up daily, which directly determines your state of being.
So if you often feel low, or down, or unmotivated, or stressed, you might want to take a close look at the people in your life.
Very likely, you’ll want to stop dealing with certain individuals who affect you negatively, and start spending more time with folk who lift you up.
Bonus points if they are people who also prefer spending time with people who lift them up.
Me, I’m pretty deliberate where it comes to my friends and contacts. Does me a lot of good (and them, in return).
How about you? Anyone you’d like to let go of, or anyone you’d like to be around more…?
Let me know, I’m curious.
Also published on Medium.