During the second half of the 20th century many prestigious universities in the US began to conduct what would later be called Reference Group Studies. Reference Groups is a fancy name for the groups of people against which we ‘reference’ our behaviour. We tend to look at the people we spend the most time with and semi-consciously adjust our behaviour against their behaviour. As I like to say in live seminars, in life we tend to end up earning roughly the same as our closest friends, driving similar cars and living in similar places.
Have you also noticed that most drug users tend to be surrounded by other drug users? If this is true then its reasonable to suggest that we need to spend some time really looking closely at the people we tend to associate with the most.
In this short interview I explore the importance of surrounding ourselves with quality people. It is simply a case of ensuring that as often as possible we have people in our lives who want the very best for us. In his recent book author Jordan Peterson made the useful distinction that what we want is to have people in our lives who simply want the very best for us.
This relates to an older insight from the Greek philosopher Aristotle who made the point that there are three kinds of friendships in the world. There are friendships of common interest such as people who share an interest in golf or politics. There are friendships of utility where someone simply pretends to be a friend to get something from the other person. Finally, for the ancient Greeks there was the friendship of the good. In this level of friendship each person desired that good things would happen to the other person. Interestingly, to experience this level of friendship it was important that each person was trying to grow in goodness in their life in general.
All of this simply points us in a clear direction. If we want to move toward our potential in life and business then one of the easiest ways to do this is simply to surround ourselves with people who are also trying to make the most of life. Take some time and get out a journal. Who are the key people in your life? Are they helping you to grow? Are they helping you to become the person that you have been created to become?
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