By studying people and their ‘reference groups’ over a 30 year period, Dr David McClelland of Harvard University discovered that 95% of our success, or failure, is determined by the people we habitually associate with.
This is incredible; essentially it shows that if you do all the right things but don’t get around people who hold you to a higher standard, then you are more likely to fail.
1. Get clear about what’s important to you
First, get clear about what’s important to you and the type of person you want to be. Do you want to be fit and healthy, aspirational, making progress on what’s important? What type of person do you need to be to live like this?
2. Start to become that person
A lot of people think it starts with finding the right peer group, but I think it starts with beginning to become the right person that the right peer group will be attracted to. Start to develop the traits that you might need, like focus and self-discipline. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, it’s hard to do that alone, but make a start.
3. Seek out people like this
Find people that are living the way you want to live. If you want to get fit, seek out fit and healthy people, not the ones who spend all their free time on the couch. If you want to love your career, seek out the people who love what they do, not the ones who complain all the time.
4. Give more than you receive
Don’t seek out a peer group looking for them to ‘save’ you. People who seek out others to get something come across as leaches, so make sure you are looking to contribute as least as much as you receive.
5. Choose who spend time with and who you reference
Firstly, choose who you spend your time with and spend time with people that lift you up, not pull you down. Secondly, there are a lot of times when you are around people not through choice; become acutely aware of who you choose to reference your behaviour from, and who you choose not to reference.
Choosing your own reference group consciously and not just through proximity is not common, but it’s also not complicated.
I’m sure you’re not looking forward to ‘firing’ those in your current peer group who are pulling you down, but heck, if 95% of your success or failure depends on it don’t you think it’s worth it?