When your social circle is full of supportive people, you’ll find yourself changing for the better.
What exactly did Jim Rohn, the legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker, mean when he said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? How can the people in our social circle influence us? And if they do make an impact, what’s the best way to ensure it’s a positive one?
It’s interesting to note that this is not a new sentiment. In the past, countless famous personalities have commented about the importance of friendships. Vladimir Lenin is quoted as saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you your future.” But today, thanks to the same advances in behavioral change science that is powering the Fabulous app, we have documented proof of the influence of a social circle upon an individual’s life.
Effects of a Social Circle
No Man Is an Island
We’re all aware of how lousy it feels to be lonely. But research has now uncovered just how damaging it can be in terms of not just mental, but physical health as well. Those who lack an adequate support system suffer from higher stress levels, lower cardiovascular health, and even slower recovery rates from illness. When your best friend comes over with homemade soup, it’s not just the ingredients in the bowl that cure you of your flu. The laughter and compassion between the two of you play a vital role as well!
Want to both improve your skills in the kitchen and connect with loved ones? Try the “Group Cooking” Challenge and cook with a partner or friend 3 times this week!
Friends Are Your Firewall
There’s a reason why our parents worried about who we hung out with in high school. “Bad” or self-destructive habits are often developed in a social setting. We’re all aware of the age-old example of teens smoking to fit in with the “cool kids.” But that’s not the only scenario. Your social circle influences what you eat, how (and if) you exercise, and how you entertain yourself. It’s very hard to be the only one ordering a bowl of salad, especially if there’s a plate of fries meant for the whole table right in front of you!
That’s why gym buddies are so popular. Having friends who can hold you accountable allow you to steadily move towards your goals. They’ll also make it harder for you to succumb to negative behavior. Habit building is a marathon, not a sprint. Which means you’ll eventually need someone ready to hand you a sip of water and an encouraging word.
Your social circle need not simply be a safety net. Once you and your friends are on the same wavelength when it comes to building a particular habit, a friendly rivalry will unfold. It’ll be a unique blend of competition and compassion. Suppose, for instance, that you and your friend join a book club in order to see who can read more books in a year. You might end up reducing social media usage so that you can read more pages every day. But you’ll just as quickly spend an hour chatting with your “rival” if they need emotional support. There are no losers in this type of race!
Think about all the people in your life. There’ll be some who spend all their time online, across several platforms, connected to countless friends, garnering constant likes. While it’s by no means meant to be a broad generalization, research has shown that greater online connections can lead to more anxiety and loneliness.
So your social circle can play a major role in your digital life. Are your friends, family, and colleagues more likely to tweet you, or call you for a meetup? Do they share memes or long conversations over dinner? Face-to-face interactions are still the healthiest form of communication. That doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from the internet entirely! Instead, try to alter your approach. Use social media and the internet as a tool to find like-minded individuals and groups. Then set out to establish and strengthen bonds through real-life interactions.
Life is most rewarding when you are part of a group that supports each other through all the highs and lows life has to offer. Inspiring and being inspired by loved ones will allow you to discover your best self.
The Ultimate Social Network
We live in a world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where everybody is aiming to “network.” We’re all aware of the benefits of knowing the right people in the right places. Well, having the right social circle is the most effective way to meet individuals who can mold and enhance your thought process. For example, if you are trying to cultivate the habit of meditation, getting introduced to someone who is knowledgeable in that area will be hugely beneficial.
Now, the point is not to only befriend people who are experts in certain fields! Instead, choosing the right social circle means surrounding yourself with people who are supportive by nature. Many people in your life will eventually come across someone who is an expert in meditation. Only a few will remember that you are interested in that subject and try to help you out. They are the ones who need to be in your social circle.
Wondering how to start the habit of meditation? The “Breather” 5-minute Meditation session in the app’s Make Me Fabulous section is the perfect place to start!
This is the last but perhaps most crucial point when it comes to understanding the benefit of a social circle. Are you familiar with the phrase, “like crabs in a bucket”? If a crab tries to climb out of a bucket, the other crabs will pull it down. Unfortunately, this can also be the perfect metaphor for human nature at times. The right social circle will allow you to progress and graduate to the next level. If you put in the hard work and are consistent, eventually your habits will coalesce to propel you to greater heights. In such circumstances, a toxic social circle will try to pull you down.
We as humans are prone to jealousy, frustration, and fear. Sadly, sometimes we cannot digest our friends moving forward without us. So when it comes to choosing a social circle, always remember two things: to be with those who can truly cheer you on, and to be someone who can do the same for others!
Build…and They Will Come
If you’re wondering what’s next, it’s simple. Begin with the habit-building process. But what about the social circle? That’s the beauty of it. You can’t wait till you’ve assembled the right social circle before you begin building good habits. Instead, simply start positive habits, and that will attract the right social circle. Once you hit the gym, or library, or the whole foods section at the grocery store, you’ll run into the kind of friends and mentors you need. Once you get the ball rolling, remember the points above and simply safeguard your social circle.
Start “The Purpose-Driven Life” journey on the Fabulous app to learn about the powerful tools that’ll help you build the right habits for a lifetime!