As social creatures, we generally do better in groups than on our own. Survival is ultimately a team sport, be it in business, communities, unions and friendships – so consider this as a key contributor to success in any area. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but the people you surround yourself with are a reflection of you and where you’re going.
We tend to hold on too tightly to relationships that we know aren’t serving us any good because we hope that somehow things will get better. The truth is you’ll never outgrow your peer group, because if you are continually growing and making progress, the people around you will have to be at least your level or a level above you in order for you to sustain your progress.
Researchers found in a landmark study that friends had a direct influence on one’s likelihood of gaining weight. When a friend becomes overweight, it increases your likelihood of becoming overweight by 60%. But this goes beyond fitness; it affects your finances, business and career. How much value do the people you hang around with bring into your life? Are they continually pushing you to dream bigger or be better?
If not, you may want to reconsider spending too much of your time with them. This doesn’t mean you’ll never talk to them or that you’ve stopped caring about them. It does however, mean that you value yourself and your life enough to invest your time and energy with people who support and challenge you toward growth and progress.
The greatest challenge will usually come from your own resistance to change. We all have a hard time dealing with change, dealing with a devil-you-know rather than one you don’t, but I promise you, doing what you have been doing all along and keeping to your old and tired social circle won’t get you ahead. To move forward you’ll have to let go of your comfort zone.
As soon as you associate yourself with people you want to be like, you’ll notice an entirely different world opening up. Better quality opportunities, ideas and experiences will accompany your higher quality relationships. So, begin building your personal and business advisory board today. You’ll learn as much from those conversations than you would from a lecture hall. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, since in this case you’ll never run short of great advice. As uncomfortable as we all are with having our assumptions challenged, I have come to learn that my most valuable relationships are with people who challenge my ideas. You won’t become smarter or richer when associating with “yes men” all the time. Have you ever noticed how some of your intelligent friends will, reasonably, find holes in your ideas, thus forcing you to improve and refine them?
I have always found that spending time with people I want to be like, forces me to take an objective look at my own life and take massive action toward improving an area I’m unsatisfied with.
Being a little competitive won’t hurt; it may do you a lot of good. To excel and become good at anything you need to measure yourself against something or someone else, and if your peer group isn’t continually inspiring you to outdo your previous effort, it’s time you reconsider your team.
Always remember that you become the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
- Wandile Nyundu