We become who we hang out with. If you average the 5 people closest to you, and you look at their weight, their level of self-esteem, or how much money they make, you’ll find that on average… you’re an average of all of them.
If you want to improve yourself, the highest leverage way to do so is to start building a group of people that affect you on the level you’d like to be at.
A phenomenal book on this subject is: “Iconoclast” by Gregory Berns.
Berns talks about how when we’re young, we’re naturally curious. We want novelty and new experiences and are fearless in a way. When we become adults we develop a fixed view of the world, a comfort zone, a picture of the world as we’d like it to be and become attached to it.
Our reality starts to become frozen solid in this image.
Then another interesting thing happens. We start seeking out social situations and people that fit the way we think the world is or the way we want it to be. This becomes a self-reinforcing feedback loop. The more we want the world to be a certain way, the more we seek out situations and people that reflect this world and the further this reinforces that this is the way it is. Most of us don’t have parents that “Re-Invent” themselves every year in a new and exciting way. Most people we work with are this way. Most of our friends are this way.
If you hang out with people who lock themselves into a static reality will you become who you want to become?
Of course not. Some of these people are family members, friends that you love but at some point you’ve gotta wake up and face the stark reality that if you want to change, you’ve got to change the people around you. It’s rough for people to get and understand the magnitude of this reality.
This isn’t easy. It’s simple, yet incredibly challenging. People don’t like it when you change because the ways they manipulate you stop working.
They also don’t like it when you get new friends because their justice mechanism feels threatened that when you start hanging out with other people, that they’re gonna lose you as a friend. It’s gonna be hard to connect with a high powered person in your world if the 5 people you hang around with most are slugs who are never gonna create any kind of success. In the future, you’ll find that the more high quality relationships that you have, the higher your social value, the faster this whole process works.
The more you stay attached to old, draining relationships and your fixed model of the universe and the more you try to shield yourself from new experiences, new views and cultures, the more you’ll run up against resistance and the less success you’ll have. This from a study written about in the New York Times: “Spouses didn’t appear to have as big on effect on obesity as your friends do.”
If a male in this study had a male friend who become fat, his risk doubled of becoming obese. And if his wife became obese, it only increased 37%. The researchers say that when it comes to body image, we compare ourselves primarily to people of the same sex. In fact, different sex friends didn’t transfer obesity to each other at all. If a man becomes fat his female friends are completely unaffected and vice versa. Similarly, siblings of the same sex had a greater effect on each other than the opposite.”
They found in this study that health risks would skip a person. If You and I are friends and You have a friend I don’t know, and I become obese, your friend who doesn’t know me now has an increased risk for becoming obese because you have a friend who’s obese. So it’s not just that we become who we hang out with. We also become the people they hang out with. This article also cited that if you wanted to lose weight, that it’d be better to get with, not your friends, but your friends friends and form a group.
We tend to be more influenced by people we perceive to be more like us. So the more like me I perceive you to be, the more I’m going to be unconsciously influenced by you, copy what you do, do what you ask me to do, wanna repay favors you’ve done for me, etc. etc. etc.
Mirror Neurons In Your Brain “Experience” and Simulate Every Behavior You See—WTF?
Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence” and “Vital Lies, Simple Truths” and “Social Intelligence” and in S.I. he says our brains are wired to synchronize with other brains. We start imitating people within hours after we’re born. Scientists have discovered that we have a type of neuron in our brain that they’re calling mirror neurons. These neurons imitate every experience you see.
These are distributed through every center of your brain and if someone around you lifts up their right arm to ask a question in class, your brain, simulates and primes you to lift up your right arm. It actually fires all of the centers in your brain so that you’re running a simulation as if you actually lifted up your right arm.
The point is, we are wired to synchronize with others. When you put yourself in the presence of another human being, that is speaking, moving, gesturing, using body language, interacting with others, even via T.V. or movies, as this info is going in, your brain is running a simulation as if you’re doing it. And at some level you’re encoding it into your own experience as if you did it.
This can have a lot of benefits because if you can just watch people do things, you model and simulate what they do, then you can learn things very quickly which we do. But the challenge is that we learn quickly because we learn by association. We connect one idea to another, and as scientists say, neurons that fire together, wire together, one eventually triggers the other firing.
Great example of this is Pavlov’s dogs where he taught the dogs to salivate by ringing the bell and did this by ringing a bell every time he was going to feed them and then fed them over and over again and eventually all he had to do was ring the bell and the dogs started salivating because the neurons that fired together were wired together.
Our brains are always linking things to each other.
The problem comes when things get linked to each other that we didn’t want linked together. We learn lots of things that we didn’t want to learn, we have neurons that we don’t want wired together. One traumatic experience can make it so that every time we think the thought about a particular activity, it triggers all kinds of negative emotions and fantasies.
Car accidents can do this to you. After the accident some primal part of you screams for you to stay away from the car because it’s dangerous. Here’s the point: when two things or more get associated in the brain, when you “learn” something that you didn’t want to “Learn” it’s a challenge to unlearn it.
To change this we have to manually go in and disconnect them. This is what hypnosis and N.L.P are all built for, to go in and disconnect things that got unconsciously connected.
The brain can atrophy. It’s not designed to atrophy but it atrophies when put into a situation where you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again. When you look at people who seem to have intellectually demanding jobs you’ll see people who aren’t zombies.
You want to surround yourself with people who are so vibrant and unlike you or what you’ve considered yourself to be up to this point, that it helps you to re-wire your brain. Something worth thinking about is what the people you hang out with talk about. What subjects do you engage in, what thoughts come up, what places do you go?
You want to surround yourself with people that after you’ve met with them you feel your brain has expanded because they’ve challenged and stretched your thinking.
Our Personalities Are Patchwork Quilts Of Others We’ve Experienced
Based on having mirror neurons that help us become who we surround ourselves with, if you examine your personality or persona or your self-image, or any of these aspects that point to the same general self concept, you start to realize that we are a patchwork quilt of others we’ve experienced.
We’ve gone through life and picked up a little thing here and there and eventually after sewing this stuff together we get what we think is us and we identify with it. This leads us to believe we’re individuals who are special and unique and because we emotionally estimate and see only validation, we look and see the parts of us that are unique.
We look through a perspective that shows us only the unique side of ourselves and we miss the 99.99% of us that is really just like everyone else.
The paradox and irony is that when we do this, when we live in this myopic view, it prevents us from becoming anything different. It prevents us from actually taking control of this process and becoming the type of person that we’d like to become.
This is critically important because if we take control of the process and start becoming who we want to, in the image we want to create for ourselves, those people who are successful and evolved, people we want to connect to and mastermind with, they will pick this up instantly.
If there’s something that seems incredibly obvious to evolved people, it’s when they meet someone who doesn’t want to evolve, that just wants to take something form them.
They spot the person coming from a mile away and put on a bland version of their own personality so that they deflect that person. Eben has had experiences where someone he knows, who isn’t interested in evolving, interacts with an evolved person and Eben asked them what they thought of the person they just met and they say, “Yeah, I met him. I don’t know. They just seem like another person to me. I wasn’t particularly impressed.” And for Eben it all makes sense in that moment.
This “Defense Mechanism” camouflage that evolved people throw up is their way of seeming like “Regular people” so they don’t appear as anything special so these “parasites” don’t stick to them and pursue them.
In all of Dave’s interviews he’s learned the people who are the real deal can sniff out a fellow evolving person in seconds.
People who work on themselves have some books they love, a lot of them they’ve mentioned here, and you can give someone else one of these books and they’ll flip through it and it’ll sound to them like the biggest load of B.S. in the world.
They look at the book and say, “This is just crap!”
For people who have been through the processes talked about in this program or a similar one, they look normal to someone who hasn’t. To someone who has, they can spot it instantly. It’s almost like you put on a pair of glasses and everyone who’s been sprayed with that paint glows and no one else can see it.
Average Your Five Closest Friends, And You Get YOU! And If You Want To Change You, Then Change Your Reference Group
If you want to change the people you hang out with, it’s gonna require you changing yourself too. This makes you think of the parent who thinks they’re gonna get the results they want by telling kids, “Don’t do what I do. Do what I say.” You go first, then people will follow, not the other way around.
You do the thing you want everyone else to do, and then they do it.
Most people wish they could decide what they want done and then tell everyone to do it and just kick back while they do it and reflect on how cool they are. Brian Tracy points out that our reference group impact us more than anyone else does.
This is the reason why self help/improvement seminars don’t work. It’s not because the information is flawed, it’s because you end up going back home to a group which more times than not, isn’t on board with the “New” you. This is why changing your reference group/who you hang out with is so important.
Social Pressure = Performance, So Use It Pro-Actively…
80-90% of Eben’s success has flowed from 1 simple idea. That idea is, if you want to accomplish something, plan it, promise big and then tell a bunch of people that I’m gonna do it . Once instance where he does this is when he sells the program before it’s made and has people pay money to be involved in it. This leaves him no choice but to show up. And it’s not the kind of no-choice that makes him feel restricted, in fact it’s the kind that takes away all the confusion and vagueness from the situation.
There’s different kinds of pressure. Even enlightened people aren’t inspired by the external pressure to do their taxes.
The other kind of social pressure originates within yourself that stems from that part of yourself from which below it, is nothing; the core values you have.
Everyone values money. Money isn’t a core value. Everyone values control. Control isn’t a core value unless you’re a weird sociopath. If you find your deepest core values and transfer into an initiative of some kind, and you get other people involved, it calls you in way that it wouldn’t otherwise.
The most potent kind of social pressure is the kind that comes from within. The special kind that’s the dearest, the closest, and really is your core value and you turn it into something that other people get invested in and there is no choice other than to do better work than you’ve ever done before. That’s when genius emerges.
A leader is an ecologist. Ecologists are concerned with the environment and things put there that aren’t part of it that can contaminate it. Nothing will grow on a plot of land that’s contaminated.
One form of Push style leadership would be push, push, push to make things happen.
A Pull style let’s people have things your way. You can attract deer to a salt lick even if they’re aware of you off a ways watching them. If you want the deer, which is the purpose, don’t work on the deer, they’ll come. Pay attention to the clearing and when the clearing is sufficient, deer or the purpose will show up.
If you get a group of people that come together, there’s probably some purpose that’s going to emerge. If you push the purpose, that won’t be highest purpose that this group could engage in.
The highest purpose is going to come through a combination and a re-contextualization of things a lot of people have said. It just gels the whole group. This is the kind of purpose that moves mountains and changes the world and makes history.
When the clearing is set, that’s when you realize your purpose here in life. Many of the world famous leader such as Hitler, Gandhi, Churchill, etc had their purpose emerge as a result of conditions combined with their personality and natural talents. If you look back through history, you see this is the way it’s gone down.
“We’re always listening for our future.”
This is especially for those of us who are looking forward to the next big thing in their evolving in life.
And it’s not necessarily us sitting down and figuring the whole thing out. It has more to do with surrounding ourselves with people who are thinking at a higher level than us, that can see further than us and listening to what they see and how they talk.
You’ve recognized while listening to this program, one or two ideas and have said to yourself, “There it is. That’s the thing that I need to start doing right now.” It’s either something that’s holding you back or a technique you need to use or something you’ve been ignoring that allows you to deceive yourself.
When you open your mind to this idea that our purpose, the next step for us is a co-creation process, something that we’re listening for, collaborating with others on, putting yourself into different situations so that you can have your purpose arise and manifest itself as a result… This is when you get into flow.
The reason Eben see’s that he did this program, Connected, goes beyond just making money.
He believes both him and Dave, had they not done this, they would have made just as much money doing something else. He see’s his reason for working on this was to build a relationship with Dave and his intuition that says they’re going to play in each others worlds in the future, they need to get to know each other better and hey, what better way to build a relationship AND bring value to the market than to do a program together.
Most people probably can’t articulate their purpose but they can smell it.
When you’re unwilling to accept second class and this process of putting yourself into others, in front of excellence, proactively, draws out a part of you where you’re continually reminded that there’s another level out there and it’s just as easy to pursue this path as it is to be a slug and have a butt load of inner conflict.
The people you aspire to hang with are the people you really enjoy hanging with. Tom Peters believes life should be a 24/7 adrenaline rush. So when you put together your tribe you want to focus on putting people in it that you really enjoy being with.
You want to put together your tribe so that synchronicity happens on a regular basis. The first way this happens is by cleaning up your own mind and life, the beliefs that tell you you aren’t good enough to form your own group, who am I to make an impact, no one gave me permission, my life sentence says that I have nothing to say so I should repeat other what others say, etc.
It’s nice to have a sense of awe of what can come out of a relationship.
Patch Together A New “Persona Quilt” From Patches of Success
You not only want to surround yourself with a special group for the social pressure reasons but also so that you’re able to patch together a new “Persona Quilt” that’s made from patches of success on purpose rather than by chance.
When you see a group of people who are expressing themselves via tattoos, degrees, lip piercings, so on, they’re really telling themselves a story of how they’re unique. But they aren’t. Maybe they aren’t part of the majority, but they’re just clones of themselves.
When you surround yourself with people who are like you want to become, it delivers radical results. And it’s not about you using your tribe to become successful. Your tribe begins to use you.
When interacting with a group that demands growth, you find yourself doing things and acting in a way that is unrecognizable to you as yourself. You talk differently, you act in ways that you consider inconsistent with who you are, timid person becomes bold, blabber mouths become reserved. Who you are is different because you’ve re-wired your tribe.
This is something that most people don’t appreciate.
Once you do this, you don’t need agendas or reminders or post it notes or rubbers around you wrist that you flick to remind you of a certain behavior you want to own. It’s in place, it’s locked in, change is as automatic as breath. Your social system will call for you to do exactly the things you want to do… all automatically.
The Power Of The Focused, Intentional Mastermind
Andrew Carnegie put Napoleon on mission to meet with over 650 of the most financially successful people in the world to find out what traits they had in common.
The end result of this 20 years of research yielded “The Laws of Success” and it’s condensed version, “Think & Grow Rich,” which is probably cited as one of the most prolific books on the topic of success. One of the keys of success in the book was that no great power and success can be accumulated without the mastermind.
“If you don’t use the mastermind, then you can’t achieve great power and success.”
When someone who’s interacted with 650 heavy duty successful people and says something like this, your ears gotta perk up. Eben, through his life and in discussion with people he knows has determined that this is as close to a universal truth as you can get.
Is it 100% true at all times? No. But it’s a very good bet.
What is a mastermind?
A mastermind is a group of people, usually a relatively small group, maybe 5-10, that meet regularly, that meet with the sole intention and purpose of helping each other become successful.
Think about how powerful it could be if you got together with 9, 7, 5 other people who on a regular basis met to discuss how you could become more successful.
Dave has found that boards of directors are the greatest missed opportunity in American business because they should be what we’ve just defined. The reality is that with corporations you get limoed in from the airport, have a nice meal and then you hear management talk and they go through their reports and it’s pretty much power point with a lot of charts and graphs but there’s no in-depth knowledge that allows for the really important questions to be asked because the guy who gets things done, who’s low on the org chart, is actually back home getting things done.
So most boards just end up rubber stamping what the CEO wants to do and then fly home and do the same thing next quarter. It’s shameful that boards of directors don’t act as masterminds and if you look at our economy, it’s no surprise that America is experiencing what it is because these boards are what you’d call dumb tribes.
And what’s crazy is that they aren’t filled with dumb people. They’re actually great people who are operating with hindering life sentences that contribute to the tribe acting petty and dumb. The CEO of Worldcom was a perfect example of this playing out.
No one questioned him. The fundamental problem with worldcom was not an issue of integrity, not an issue of policies, it was a culture on the board that allowed anything to happen.
Find A Mentor Who Is An Expert At Developing Your Gift Into A Strength
A mentor is someone who is beyond you, someone who’s several years down the road, a master of whatever it is that you’d like to master.
An expert not only has mastered it but they’re a master at developing. They’ve also mastered developing other people with potential to become experts in that arena.
Your gift could be your inner talent. Something you were naturally born with. Some people are masters of logic, some people are social geniuses, some people are musical geniuses, some people are physical geniuses.
Your strength is when you’ve taken your gift and you’ve trained it. You’ve given it the best techniques, it’s been exposed to the most advanced models, training, experiences, through repetition and practice. To the point to where now it is something you can do in the real world and perform/produce results with.
One of the drivers to this process is excellence.
When you’re excellent at something, when you’ve demonstrated to yourself and others that you can master something and then once you’ve mastered it, you use it to contribute value to others, this is like the spark that lights the rest of the fire.
When you find a mentor who’s an expert who knows your area and they’ve developed others who have your gift, and you work with them you cultivate excellence. This ends up being your asset that you contribute to your group.
Whatever your gift is, it doesn’t have to be related to business specific purposes like real estate development. Your gift can be anything. The key is excellence through a mentor.
Sum Up Of First 4 Sessions of “Connected”
They’ve talked about how creating your own group is an asset in THE 21st century.
The thing that separates the amateurs from the pro’s is the pro’s are consistently focused on building their asset and resources.
Are you willing to make the decision to make being CONNECTED, the intentional, conscious creation of your tribe, a top priority in your life?
Are you willing to commit to this level of thinking and process of becoming connected and connecting others for life?
It’s important to make these commitments to yourself. If so, say “Yes, I commit to creating a tribe and to make being connected a top priority in my life.” Confirm this to yourself.
Next they talked about creating friendships with people.
Are you willing to make friendships with people who are at the next level a top priority? Are you willing to use the tools given to you here, on a daily basis, review the material, look at your notes every single day spend at least 30-60 minutes using and reviewing this material, going out and taking action on it. Are you willing to use this to connect people with each other so that you build your network and your tribe?
If you are, just give yourself a little nod.
The next thing they talked about is how it’s important to consciously gravitate toward positive politicians, to surround yourself with the type of people you’d like to become and really use this to build your own integrity in life.
Are you willing to use positive politics?
Are you willing to intentionally build relationships with those people within structures that already exist, to help those people out and connect on a personal level so that you can align your thought, emotion, behavior and communication and actions so that you can create this new integrity?
Are you willing to overcome your internal and external blocks to success?
Are you willing to take an honest look at your psychology?
Are you willing to admit that you’re just another regular person and that you fall prey to all these biases and emotional responses and that your justice mechanism acts up just like the rest of us?
Are you willing to admit that your strengths can sometimes sabotage you?
Do the work required to “let go” of those old attachments and relax into emotional experiences that happen. When something shows up and pushes that emotional button, are you willing to practice taking a breath and letting it go?
Are you willing to spend 5 minutes a day in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening meditating on a mind that let’s go? And when things come up and push your button, and act as an affront to you, are you willing to relax into them, remember a mind that let’s go, breathe until it’s gone and then move forward and not hold on to any of that stuff?
If so just give yourself a little nod, maybe say to yourself, “Yes, I’m willing to work on my psychological limitations.”
Are you willing to master the master mind and finding of mentors?
We become who we hang out with.
Are you willing to face all the blocks and proactively building a new self image so that you can proactively create a mastermind around you that you participate in and help facilitate and are you also willing to go out and find a mentor who’s an expert at developing your skill into a strength so that you have something to contribute, self esteem and confidence so that you can express yourself creatively, so that you can create value for yourself and your group so that you can add value?
If you are, give yourself a little nod and say, “Yes, I’m going to intentionally focus on creating my own mastermind and attract a mentor who’s an expert at developing my gift into a strength so that I can contribute.”
We only do things in reality that we first see ourselves doing in our minds so this exercise here is to help us see ourselves doing these things.
You may want to let go of all commitments for a while and even let go of these commitments and let them operate on an unconscious level.
Q & A
In order to find a mentor, start asking the people around you “What is my gift?”
“No one knows who discovered water but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.”
In reality, your gift is completely transparent to you. Some people don’t think they can use their gift to make money. It’d be like cheating.
If you don’t feel like you could get paid to do it because it’s too fun, you might be barking up the right tree. Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach has people do an exercise in which they just email all their friends and say, “What do you think my unique ability is?”
He has sophisticated, high income professionals do this. Anyone can do this. Start asking people, “What is my gift, what am I naturally talented at, what do you see is my strength here?”
Listen to what people say. Don’t put words in their mouth. Don’t lead the witness.
Ask with an open mind and an open heart and you’ll be surprised at what you hear.
Q: How can you quickly know if someone’s gonna rip you off when first meeting them?
We tend to fall in love with people we interact with. We do it in relationships, we do it in business and we always look at their most positive traits.
When we look at people, we kinda look at them from one angle and people are usually showing us their best side.
The reality is that everyone has a dark side. Everyone.
If you can imagine looking at the moon, depending on which direction you’re looking from, unless it’s going through an eclipse, one side of the moon is always going to be completely lit up. You could be looking at it with the sun behind you and the whole face of the moon will look light.
But there’s another perspective you could take where no matter which direction they’re trying to show you, you would see reality as clearly as it is. That would be looking from above. Then you can see their light & dark side.
When Eben meets people, he assumes that they have a light side and that they have a dark side and that probably, as light as their light side is, that’s how dark their dark side is. Some people really feel the need to express and present themselves as a SUPER LIGHT. And they really try to promote all the good stuff about themselves.
To the extent that the person holds themselves up as being good and wonderful, here are all my accomplishments and talking about themselves. That’s when you can almost guarantee that the dark side is just a big as the dark side.
If you meet someone that quietly goes about their business, but is amazing, they’ll still have a dark side but it will be kinda small because they aren’t trying to prove something to you overtly.
So when he meets someone that’s super charismatic or unbelievably attractive or amazing smooth talking person that makes you feel like you’ve known them a long time, or someone who’s trying to flatter you and say how great you are, the red flag goes up.
He says to himself that there’s something going on here that I’m not seeing that I have to stay vigilant to it.
In most cases this kinda works itself out when you choose the kinda people you want to be around. And then go seek them out and build relationships with them. Once you build a solid circle of people you can trust, then you can take their word for it when someone is referred to you.
Until then, you want to target the people you want to meet and put extra effort in to do whatever it takes to get around those people because your odds are so much better than just meeting random people and trying build a relationship and then finding their dark side is waaaay to much to handle.
And he also thinks that you should put anyone you’d like to get to know through the Top Grading Process. Learn everything about their past, listen for patterns because it’s a super winning formula.
When you keep working this, you’ll be able to pick out whether someone is committed to their own excellence. They do things that shine light on this. They stand out like a beacon.