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It’s well into September now. In our September Get Your Personal Shit Together extravaganza, we’ve now covered why dating and relationship success is an inside job, taking responsibility for your love live, the trap of self-entitlement, and a series on the importance of learning and living your core values. Today, let’s talk about your social circle.

Perhaps you’ve seen this famous quote by Jim Rohn, a dude who’s known for great quotes about life success:

“You are the average of the five people you spent the most time with.”

Think about that for a minute. Whoever dwells in your social circle plays a huge part in determining who you are and how you approach life. It makes some sense, right? Kids behave like their family members. Teens dress and talk like their peers. Couples begin to think and even look alike after being together for years. Birds of a feather and all that. Sometimes the influence can be more profound: a kid gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and winds up in jail. A budding entrepreneur joins a mastermind group and her success begins to skyrocket. A single guy begins hanging with guys who are good with women and suddenly his skills grow.

Humans are social animals. Sure, we have our unique temperaments and our personalities, but we are heavily influenced by other humans. So much so that there’s an entire field of psychology devoted to studying the influence of humans on other humans… it’s called Social Psychology. When I took social psych, the prof told us about the first known social psychology experiment. They gave a child a spool and asked him to coil thread around that spool. He did. Then they brought in a second child and asked her to do the same thing. With the presence of the second child, the first kid spooled the thread significantly faster. That’s social psychology.

We aren’t self-contained islands of independence like we think we are. That includes you introverts and misanthropes, too. We’re heavily attuned to and reliant upon other humans, and if we spend enough time with certain people, we will begin to think and act like them.

Which is great, if the people you spend the most time with are awesome. But what if they aren’t?

For many of us, our social circles aren’t always our chosen favorites. Sometimes our favorite people live far away or work a lot or have 3 kids. Often, the people we spend the most time with are coworkers, neighbors, roommates, a family member we aren’t that fond of, or that dude you talk to on the train to work every morning. The question is, who are the 5 you spend the most time with, and are they the kind of people you want influencing you?

Because they will influence you. If they’re negative or if they’re jerks or if they have a shit attitude about life, that will affect you. Sure, they can’t change you into someone else, but their influence is additive over time.

Consider what you want from life, and what your values and goals are. Do you want to meet the right person and get married? Do you want to get in better shape and lose some weight? Do you want to find a better job? As much as possible, surround yourself with people who have what you want, who are aiming for what you want, or who at least aren’t holding you back.

Remember: the more successful you are on the inside, the more successful your relationships. Think about who’s influencing you, and whether it’s time for a change.

 

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