Do Our Friends Impact Our Success?

If you work in an environment where you interact with colleagues on a regular basis, you soon realize how much the people around you can impact your day. There is science behind how people influence each other and how important it is to be among friends who support you in reaching your goals. So, just how much impact do our friends have on our success?

It’s often said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This statement, popularized by Jim Rohn, a renowned American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, holds a lot of truth. The people we choose to surround ourselves with have a significant influence on our beliefs, attitudes, and behavior and can ultimately shape our destiny. 

In his book “The Power of Your Inner Circle: How Your Five Closest Friends Influence Who You Are and Who You Become,” author and speaker David J. Greer reinforces Rohn’s theory. Greer highlights the importance of selecting friends who support our goals and aspirations, who encourage and inspire us to be our best selves, and who challenge us to grow and develop. He argues that our inner circle has the power to shape our character and, ultimately, our destiny. 

The Phenomenon of Social Contagion

One of the reasons why our friends have such a strong impact on us is due to the phenomenon of social contagion. Social contagion is the process through which behaviors, attitudes, and emotions spread within social networks. According to a study by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, two social scientists from Harvard and UC San Diego, respectively, social contagion can have a significant impact on our health, emotions, and even our political beliefs. In their book “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,” Christakis and Fowler discuss how social networks can influence everything from our weight and smoking habits to our voting patterns. 

The study also found that social contagion was strongest among close friends. When our friends engage in certain behaviors or adopt particular attitudes, we are more likely to do the same. This is because we are more likely to trust and emulate the behavior of those closest to us. As such, if we surround ourselves with people who have negative attitudes or destructive behavior, we are more likely to pick up those traits ourselves. On the other hand, if we surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, we are more likely to develop positive attitudes and behaviors. 

Human Behavior, Pendulums, and Synchrony

Another interesting phenomenon related to the influence of those around us is the idea of pendulum synchronization. Pendulum synchronization refers to the concept that when two or more pendulums are put together in the same room, they will eventually synchronize and swing in unison. This concept was first discovered by the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens in the 17th century. 

In the context of human behavior, pendulum synchronization can be seen as a metaphor for how individuals can influence each other’s attitudes and behavior. When we spend time with people who share our beliefs and values, we reinforce and strengthen those attitudes. This is because we are constantly exposed to like-minded individuals who support and validate our perspectives. In contrast, when we spend time with people who have different beliefs and values, we may begin to question or modify our own beliefs. 

The idea that “great minds think alike” is also related to the concept of pendulum synchronization. When a group of individuals share a common goal or vision, they can create a collective consciousness or thought bubble. This thought bubble allows the group to work in unison towards a common goal, with each member contributing their unique talents and perspectives. This is why it’s so important to choose our friends and colleagues wisely. When we surround ourselves with people who share our values and goals, we can create a powerful force that can propel us toward success. 

Resources on this Phenomenon 

Overall, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the idea that we are all connected and that we can influence each other on a metaphysical level. These books and articles provide valuable insights into the science behind these ideas and offer practical tips for harnessing this power in our own lives. 

“The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know.” In this book, author Bob Beaudine explores how the five people you spend the most time with can shape your destiny. 

“Your Five Best Friends: Establishing Your Inner Circle to Support You in Business Success and Personal Life” In this book, author John R. Miller emphasizes the importance of carefully selecting the five people you keep closest to you, noting that the right friends can have a great impact on your personal and professional success. 

“The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe” by Lynne McTaggart – In this book, McTaggart explores the scientific evidence behind the idea of a universal energy field that connects everything and everyone in the universe. She argues that this energy field can be tapped into through practices such as meditation, prayer, and intention setting and that it can be used to influence the physical world and the people around us. 

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – While not a scientific book, “The Alchemist” explores the idea of synchronicity and the interconnectedness of all things. The main character, Santiago, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns to follow his heart and trust in the universe to guide him toward his destiny. The book is a powerful reminder of the importance of connecting with others and being open to the possibilities that life presents us with. 

Our Greatest Influencers

The people we surround ourselves with can have a significant impact on our lives. Our friends and colleagues can influence our attitudes, beliefs, and behavior through social contagion and pendulum synchronization. Look at your inner circle and consider your aspirations. Are your closest friends people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself? Do you aspire to be like them? Do you have common values and goals and a team around you who will challenge you to grow?  


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Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

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