It is no secret that friends influence the direction and quality of our lives. Almost everyone universally agrees with this statement, and plenty of scientific studies support it. The problem is very few people take action on this knowledge. Fear of judgement can make it easy to stay connected to people we don’t want to be around, which could have a greater impact on our lives than we realize.
My careers were most public to this point. Whether as a performer or as a pastor, my life was very public. This meant that my personal life had a lot of intentionalities. Because of this intentionality, I was more selective with my friends.
The Brain-Science of Friendships
Intentionality was a key part of my personal life. I discovered neurological synchronization among peers through a TED Talk I found. Neurosynchronization refers to the process where our brains connect with those we most frequently surround ourselves with. This remarkable phenomenon is why so many researchers find that it is easier to learn new habits by being around people who already practice them.
For this reason, the best decisions for our lives loved ones, and future is the people we surround ourselves with. Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist who studies decision-making, and Robert Waldinger (a psychiatrist who conducted a 75-year-old study about happiness) found that the best decision to improve our happiness and personal growth is best decision is who we surround ourselves with.
It’s not prideful to be picky about your inner circle. It’s wisdom. Jesus had 12 disciples, but only three of his closest friends.
This is not an easy task, but I will admit it. You might now be wondering, “Paul, this is hard. I don’t want you to be a jerk. Just drop people from my life!” You might be wondering where to start when building intentionality in my social circle. This may seem like a difficult task for you.
Your Social Circle’s Impact
Here are some more reasons to be intentional about your social circle.
THEY HAVE AN INVISIBLE INFLUENCE
Friendships are special because they offer safe spaces. You can let your guard down when you are with friends you trust and feel comfortable with. A friend can often convince you to do something you wouldn’t have done under other circumstances.
THEIR ACTIONS WILL IMPACT YOUR FUTURE
It’s not a new concept to associate impact. Have you ever seen a movie about someone whose life was ruined by a dumb decision made by another? A simple mistake in your decision-making can cause a bad reputation that could change your entire life.
THEIR PERSPECTIVE FINES YOURS
Don’t be surprised to see your outlook change if you surround yourself with pessimists or negative Nancy. The opposite can also be true. If you have trouble seeing the positive side to life, surround yourself with positive people. You’ll soon begin to see the benefits of their perspective and adopt it as yours.
THEY ARE YOUR STANDARD
Small-town girls who have never lived in big cities can only aspire to be the best in their small towns. The same applies to our inner circle. Your inner circle will set the norm, so make sure you are comfortable with what you see. Find a few friends to help you set a higher standard for your life.
It is not selfish, selfish, or impolite to be pickier about your friends, especially those closest to you. Your life, the lives of your loved ones and your future are too important to ignore. By filtering your social network, you can transform your life and increase your happiness.