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5 mins

Is Your Social Circle Doing You Favors? It Should Be!

Being who you want to be might just boil down to the company you keep. Josh Kaufman tells us why you need good friends to see positive change. Let’s face it, we all have things we’d like to improve…
by Tom Anderson | Feb 24 2015

Let’s face it, we all have things we’d like to improve about ourselves. Maybe it’s something small like cutting back on TV reruns, or being more confident in the workplace. Perhaps you want to tap into your creative side instead of letting your analytical brain have its way.

Now, think about whether or not you know people who are already doing these things well. Chances are, you do. And the road to self-improvement might just start by spending more time with them!

Author of The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman, says that if you want to develop a particular trait, you should spend time with people who already have it. Why? Over time, we adopt the tastes, worldviews, and interests of those closest to us. Here’s the breakdown:

Groups of people tend to naturally adopt their own set of norms. If someone within the group deviates from that norm, he’ll be subtly pressured to realign his beliefs. Since humans are sensitive to differences, we experience a constant pressure to adjust to group norms. This changes our behavior and values as time goes on.

Take this example: you eat meat, but most of your friends are vegan. As you spend more time with them, you’ll begin to make note of the times you’re consuming animal products. You might even feel guilty when you eat a burger around your friends. Soon you start to think about your friends’ reasons for going vegan. Before you know it, you’re feeling bad eating that burger even when your friends aren’t around. Pretty soon, you’ll be making your own seitan.

What’s the lesson here? Choose your company wisely.

Since you already know you’ll be influenced by those around you, it’s up to you to choose the group that will help change you for the better. For example, if you want to learn how to be more assertive, spend time with your friends who speak up. Keep them as your role models, and their positively extroverted behaviors will seep into your psyche over time.

Next time you’re stressing about changing bad habits or improving your mindset, look at your army of allies. A way to ensure you’ll change is by making sure your social circle is helping you be a better you.

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