We celebrate independence and autonomy.
We promote self-determination.
We honor individuality.
And yet, there’s a pesky little fact you just can’t get around: we humans are herd animals. We thrive in packs. There is an inborn drive to affiliate, to connect, to join in. Even if you tell me you’re a loner: you affiliate, identify, fit in with others who identify as loners. Ironically, they’re your pack.
The people we hang out with influence our behavior and create a culture – the unspoken rules of engagement, the messages about what is permissible and expected start to operate.
Studies continue to confirm that there is a significant likelihood that our weight, health, finances, relationships, fears, success, mindset will look similar to (be in the range of) the people we hang out with. Why? Because we unconsciously mimic, copy, align. It’s what herd animals do.
This alignment in the group has served an important survival function. We’re stronger together against the _____ [Fill in the blank: tiger, monsoon, drought, encroaching tribe, government, political party, etc.] – against the “other.” We’re safe here in our community, our group.
So we seek to fit in – somewhere. Culture is incredibly powerful and contagious. The behavior spurred by cultural norms bypasses the prefrontal cortex (that beautiful reasoning, rational part of your brain) and goes straight to the more primitive, instinctive regions. The power of culture is aptly expressed by the often-quoted sentiment of Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
All this is to say, who you hang out with matters. If you are looking to create certain results or qualities in your life – you might want to affiliate with people with those results or qualities. Why? Because the power of culture, of groups, to boost your behavior in the direction you want to go.
This is one of the reasons that I’m excited about the Power Start program that I’ll be offering for the first three months of 2019: The leveraging power of the group.
When you affiliate with others
who are up to something,
who are focused on accomplishing a goal,
who are taking productive action,
you absorb that mindset, that focus, that behavior.
It’s not magic. (You still have to show up and make an effort.) But it is magical. The leveraging power of the group.
So if you would like start 2019 strong and benefit from the being part of a group of go-getters, doers, makers and shakers – like you, I hope you’ll join us.
Beginning the week of January 14 through the week of March 25, I’ll be providing a weekly focus to help participants design the conditions of accomplishment as they pursue their goals. The result? By March 31, you’ll have made real-life progress toward goals that matter; and you’ll have the know-how to continue the momentum through the rest of the year and beyond.
If this sounds interesting, you can find more info here:
PS And as a corollary: Our actions matter: not only to us, but to those around us. We have the power to impact the culture of the groups we’re in. Behavior is contagious. So, for example, when you do great work, it can elevate everyone’s game.
PPS And, all this talk about culture is NOT to say that valuing diversity doesn’t matter, or worse, isn’t possible. Au contraire. Instead, the culture, the unspoken rules of the group can be about valuing diversity, difference, innovation, quirkiness, etc. As the teacher, thinker, marketer Seth Godin describes the sentiment at the heart of culture : “People like us do things like this.” So, in a culture it could be: People like us value different cultures, etc. People like us value equality for all. People like us have compassion. You get the idea.