Who do you surround yourself with, and what impact are they having on how you see the world?
I talk frequently about the importance of the people you spend your time with. Here’s a study that reinforces the reason why it’s so important. It follows randomly paired roommates in college to gauge the effect each had on the other’s psychological disposition.
The upshot is that a gloomy roommate can dim a sunnier disposition, and one with a more positive outlook can make a gloomypuss more positive.
We tend to think of traits like positivity or pessimism as more or less fixed by the time we’re adults. But, the researcher doing the study suggests…
“…those traits may be more like a language than like a physical characteristic such as height. By adolescence, people get very good at speaking a certain psychological language — responding to adversity in a certain, fixed way. But just as people can learn a new tongue if they’re suddenly immersed in a new environment where people around them are speaking a different language, the experience of coming to college might have the same effect on the psychological makeup of young adults, Haeffel says. When gloomy people spend lots of time with someone who has a cheerful outlook, it can change their psychological “language.” When cheerful people spend time around gloomy roommates, it can darken their outlook.”
In a significant way, who you spend your time with is who you become.
Take a look around you. What impact are the people in your life having? What do you need more of? What do you need less of?
Like food for your body, the people around you can be nourishment (or not) for your mind and your outlook. Look at it as an extended mental ecosystem. Make it a regular habit to check in with yourself on that ecosystem.
Awareness isn’t enough, of course. You also need to manage it. Make it a point to reach out to people who support, inspire, and challenge you. Minimize the time you spend with people who suck your energy dry.
Are the people around you the people you want to become? If not, start taking steps to change that.
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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
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