Over the past decade, researchers have made fascinating discoveries about a phenomenon called “clustering.” They found that behaviors, attitudes, and health outcomes tend to form in social clusters. The people around you even affect how much you sleep, the food that you eat, and how much money you spend or save.
If your friends smoke, you probably will, too. The more of your friends who are overweight or divorced, the higher the odds you’ll get there, too. Likewise, positive things such as happiness and prosocial behavior also seem to spread within social groups. For example, if you have a friend who is happy in life, your chances of feeling happy go up by 25 percent.
This is why it’s so important to carefully curate who is in your social circle.
Research has consistently shown that people can rise above their cultural programming and influence if they have the right beliefs and strategy. Simply adopting the belief that you can improve with effort, for example, has helped kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods go from terrible scores to the top of their class in study after study.
So before I tell you to improve your peer group, don’t for one second think you can’t improve your life on your own. Social support just makes personal development and overall life success easier, faster, and more enjoyable.
This is half-baked advice. Learning to live with people who are different from you and who challenge you is just part of becoming a mature and resilient adult. “Cutting people out” of your life just because they’re not a bright and shiny ray of light all day every day will only result in you, alone on an island, talking to coconuts.
But make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people—people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.
People on a path of purpose don’t have a lot of time for drama. So here’s what I advise: Instead of “getting rid of” all the negative people in your life (especially if they are family, friends, loyal peers, or those who are just in need), spend more time (a) hanging with your positive and successful peers.
I hear all the time, especially from younger people, that “I have no access to successful people.” That’s almost always an unexplored personal belief, not a reality. In fact, in a globally connected world, it’s a pretty thin argument to say you don’t have access to somebody, somewhere, who you can learn from, collaborate with, work for, or follow to advance your life. The real question isn’t whether they exist; it’s whether you’re willing to do the work to find them, contact them, hound them, or work hard enough to rise until you get in their orbit.
My sister and I invested over 25K this year into coaching and mentorship. Because we understand how POWERFUL environment is to us.
I tell my clients to have one or two lifelong mentors: older, wiser, highly respected, successful people. I want you to call them once per month. I also want you to have one new “domain mentor” every three years. This means someone who has precisely the expertise you need to succeed in your field. You should also call that person every month. These two mentors, one for life and another for specific domain expertise, will give you extraordinary perspective. To find mentors, start again with your friends and family. Ask, “Who do I know who has great wisdom and influence, who I might be able to learn from?” You might find a mentor at your workplace or by doing the actions above—say, volunteering or playing sports. You can also type my name and “how to find a mentor” into YouTube and watch my video for more ideas.
Imagine how much better your life would be if you got better people into your social network. And no, I don’t mean your Facebook group. I mean real people with real pulses who you actually see, call, work with, hang out with, exercise with, have fun adventures with. Choose to surround yourself with people who bring joy and growth into your life and are secure enough in themselves to be real and solid whether you shine or struggle.
Who do you have in your corner that made a huge impact in your life?
Ready to take your health onto the next level?
What’s stopping you from achieving your goals on your own?
Do you have a strategy in place that’s helping you reach your health goals?
If not, time to change things up.
Check out our availability here (goes up and down on a 1st come, 1st serve basis) and book in some time for a strategy session where will dial into exactly what your struggling with and help you put the steps together in fixing your problem.
It’s free, but we could easily charge for this.
Maybe one day we will.
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life” – Amy Poehler.
Viktoriya and Oksana Gruzdyn are Nutritionists and Immunotherapy Researchers based in Detroit, MI. They specialize in helping people reverse autoimmune and other chronic illnesses by optimizing their immune function and cellular repair.