Birds of a feather flock together. The people with whom you habitually associate are called your “reference group.” According to research by social psychologist Dr David McCelland (Harvard), your “reference group” determines as much as 95% of your success and failure in life.
- Who do you spend the most time with?
- Who are the people you most admire?
- Are those two groups of people the same?
- If not, why not?
We become the combined average of the 5 people we associate with most. The quality of our health, our attitudes, and our income can be determined by looking at the people around us. The people with whom we spend our time determine the topics of conversation that dominate our attention, and the attitudes and opinions to which we are regularly exposed. Eventually we start to eat what they eat, talk like they talk, watch what they watch, read what they read, think like they think, and even dress like them.
Think of your friends who order greasy appetizers or cocktails before dinner, as part of their routine. Hang out with them long enough and you’ll find yourself grabbing for cheese nachos and potato skins, and joining them for that extra beer or glass of wine, eventually matching their pace. Meanwhile, your other friends order healthy food and talk about the inspiring books they are reading (or the latest issue of DealFlow Monthly) and their ambitions in their business and investments. You begin to assimilate their attitudes, behaviors and habits. You read and talk about what they talk about, the the movies they are excited about, and you go to the places they recommend. The influence of your friends on you is subtle and can be positive or negative.
It may be time to re-appraise and re-prioritize the people you spend time with. These relationships can nurture you, starve you, or keep you stuck.
You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.