For such a long time, I was resistant to the idea that the people around me were influencing my decisions. My brother and I had a wide variety of friends growing up. Some of them saved lives on a regular basis; others were considered quite dangerous. The powerful realization for me was that the people around me weren’t forcing me to make ineffective decisions, but they were not pushing me forward as to encourage powerful decisions.
That is where the journey to shaping my inner circle started. It’s a never-ending project if you are a social person. The most crucial step to shaping your inner circle is becoming aware of who you would consider that to be. Your inner circle, or your “A1s” as I like to refer to them, don’t have to be someone that you physically see all the time. It could be a person with which you often talk on the phone. Anyone that is a frequent visitor or tourist of your mind is a candidate. Jim Rohn says,”Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.” This not only means to be cautious of who you let in but also what you let into your mind. We are constantly influenced as human beings. Awareness can sometimes be our only weapon to combat the influences in our every day lives.
After really putting thought into who your A1s might be, go ahead and make a list. It’s important to know ahead of time that this list will almost definitely change over time and that’s okay. Many of us travel, live different places, or change our lifestyle in such a way that it draws us closer to some people and away from others. Typically, you can calculate the five people you spend the most time with or those with whom you spend the most time sharing your thoughts.
The next step is typically the most difficult. That is to reach out! Make time for these future-shaping individuals! At times, they could be your only lifeline. I’ve always sought out quality relationships with people I could consider “flat tire friends”. Obviously, these are friends that you know you could call at three o’clock in the morning to help you change that tire. Les Brown’s famous acronym,”OQP”, is something I think about when approaching a new friendship. It stands for “Only Quality People”. Don’t use your time developing relationships with people who have no drive in their own life simply because they are lazy or complacent. These people don’t serve you or your future. They will listen to your goals but not champion them. They will attend your events but not co-organize them. They will witness you grow, but they will remain the same. I’ll reiterate Jim Rohn’s words from before,”Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”
As soon as I started to distance myself from relationships that didn’t serve me, I noticed something that I 100% expected. Nothing changed; nothing miraculous happened in my life. In hindsight, it was also 100% a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t want to believe that I was being influenced to any extent by the people around me. It was fear of being easily manipulated. I had manipulated people in my past, and feeling it done to me made me feel insecure. Just to be clear, regardless of our level of intellect, we can all be manipulated by others. That was hard to accept for me. Luckily, I was placed around a group of good people that kept me committed to OQP. It took years for me to cultivate those meaningful connections with the people around me. This is no easy task, especially in this day and age. You get to run the numbers just like a salesperson to figure out who is truly worth your time. Keep close this Latin saying,”sed omnis plaeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt”, for it rings truer today than ever before.
“sed omnis plaeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt”
“but everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find”–Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
I’d love to reach as many of the people out there that are like I was years ago. Drowning in my own ego and slathered with arrogance like those I looked down upon…what a vicious circle that was! I thought similarly to a bunch of young men in their early 20’s; I thought I was an immovable rock of individuality. However, I’m about to lay down some cold, hard, psychological facts about how influenced a human can be:
- Each one of us has a 72% influence on our inner circle (our friends)
- Each one of us has a 33% influence on our secondary circle (our friend’s friends)
- Each one of us has a 12% influence on our tertiary circle (our friend’s friend’s friends!!)
“Mathematically, the decisions we make on a daily basis affect people that we will never even meet.”CMR
So, we are, in fact, being influenced by people that we don’t even know! Isn’t that incredible?! We may know some of the folks in our secondary circle, but our tertiary circle is filled with strangers! With this said, I can tell you that mathematically, the decisions you make on a daily basis affect people that you will never even meet. After learning about this from a wonderful guest my friend, Lewis‘, had on his podcast, there was no denying the power of connection,the flexibility of human individualism, or my ability to influence those around me in a powerful way.
At this point, there is no claiming that you are the exception to the rule of influence. Implement these ideas that have been taught for ages and see what kind of changes you can make in your surroundings. Become aware of your current inner circle (Fab Five, A1s, Ride or Dies, et cetera), create a list of those people and how they affect your life, and then, put in the time, energy, and effort that it takes to keep these powerful relationships alive.
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”-Ratan Tata