The year 2018 has come to an end.
Looking back, how do you feel? Have you achieved your goals?
What goals? Let me help you remember.
- Have you lost those 5 kilograms you promised yourself you would?
- Have you quit smoking?
- Have you gone out more often and made new friends?
- Have you created a happier life for yourself?
In the Western world, we have an individualistic culture. This explains why we would now automatically start beating ourselves up (or blaming somebody else) for not keeping the promises we made to ourselves in the beginning of the year.
However, as much as we love focusing on individuals, the answers may lie in the collective instead.
How big is the collective?
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this already sounds revolutionary to you, get ready, because science suggests that not only your five closest friends, but all your friends, and their friends, and the friends of their friends have an impact on you.
How we behave, how we speak and how we feel depends on our place in our broader social community.
In his TED talk, Nicholas Christakis gives an in-depth explanation of how your friend’s friend’s friend’s depression can cause you unhappiness too, and how a person you have never met can influence your success in losing weight.
We are embedded in a fabric of human connections, and looking at our social networks will help us understand ourselves better. In other words, understanding the collective will develop our understanding of the individual.
In order to be more successful at achieving our goals in the next year, let’s look at our friends, our surroundings and our wider networks.
You might be more dependent than you think, but at the same time, you also have a lot more power over inducing change than you think.
Header image credits pexels