You are more influenced by your environment and the people around you than you think. Studies and social surveys continually show the connection between personal well-being and a strong community.[*]
Studies on habit formation and productivity demonstrate that you don’t just need a supportive community if you want to perform at your highest level – you need people who will challenge you.
If you’re looking to update your mindset and overhaul your approach to health and performance, it may be time to take a look at your community. Here are four ways to hack your social circle and surround yourself with the kind of people who will support you and challenge you, so you can become the best version of yourself possible.
Here are 4 ways to hack your community for a better life:
1. Find like-minded seekers
We live in a society that encourages social isolation through long hours at work, social media, and rampant consumerism. But the health detriments of social isolation are comparable to obesity and smoking.[*]
Feelings of loneliness can:
- Increase serum cortisol levels, your body’s primary stress hormone
- Increase blood pressure
- Weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections
- Is associated with alcoholism, depression, psychosomatic illness, and low self-esteem
- Poor sleep
- Shorter life expectancy
Meanwhile, having a strong social circle:
- Promotes faster wound healing.[*]
- Supports positive mental health
- Reduces stress
What about the types of friends you keep?
You may have heard the famous Jim Rohn quote, “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
It turns out there’s some science behind this.
One study in couples found that when one partner adopted a healthy habit, the other was much more likely to make positive behavior changes.[*]
There are also strong associations between your weight and the people you surround yourself with. A review of 16 studies, mostly in adolescents, offers “substantial evidence” that your body weight is correlated to the fitness levels and weight of your social circle.[*]
If you’re looking to make positive changes in your life, start by looking at your tribe. Are they like-minded seekers that share your passions? Do they challenge your ideas of what’s possible? Or are they stuck in negative thought and behavior patterns that bring you down?
2. Seek encouragement AND criticism
Having like-minded peers around doesn’t mean they should always agree with you.
According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, the more success people find in any given subject, the more they crave negative feedback.[*]
The study shows that positive and negative feedback serve totally different functions.
Positive encouragement will increase your commitment to the task at hand, especially if you’re a beginner, but negative feedback offers invaluable information you can use to improve.
Pro athletes and badass entrepreneurs don’t care about a pat on the back. They want to know exactly how they can improve.
It makes sense. The more successful you become, the more challenges you’ll face. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re growing your social media following, rising in the ranks of your company, or finally met the love of your life.
As you level up, life has a way of meeting you there with even bigger challenges and criticisms.
If you want to live a meaningful life, make sure to surround yourself with people who will challenge you. Instead of taking criticism personally, think of it as a call to become even better.
3. Get inspired to exceed your wildest expectations
Inspiration comes from surrounding yourself with ideas and practices outside of your current experience. Innovation comes from believing that anything is possible. And I mean anything.
Take your health for example.
Most gyms and medical institutions will only compare your health and performance to an already sick and fat population baseline. As long as you’re doing better than the average, there’s no reason to keep striving.
That’s why most expect to get fatter and weaker and mentally slower with age – because we never hear an alternative.
But imagine you had a strong community of people that not only believed that you can get stronger and sharper with age, but they’re actually doing it.
Suddenly, your experience expands. And with that conscious expansion, all kinds of new things are possible.
Having a like-minded community of seekers will inspire expansions just like this and beyond.
Find your community. The seekers. The rebels. The biohackers. Find the people who have an intuitive sense that beliefs you grew up with are flawed and there’s always a better, more efficient way. You just need the right friends and the right technology.
4. Find Accountability
When it comes to changing a habit or achieving a goal, accountability is vital.
We’re all guilty of joining a gym or a class with a surge of motivation and excitement, only to stop showing up about three weeks in.
Or having an incredible idea for a book, but you barely get past the first page before turning on Netflix.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. And it’s not a moral issue.
You’re not accomplishing your goals because you’re not capable or wired for it. It’s simply a matter of altering your environment to set yourself up for success.
Neurologically speaking, your brain becomes wired to tasks that you’ve done over and over again. In an attempt to help you conserve energy and keep you safe, your brain makes it incredibly easy for you for you to be lazy and not get out of our comfort zone.[*]
The good news is – we also know that your brain is plastic, meaning it’s capable of forming new neural pathways as you change your behavior.[*]
That’s why it’s so uncomfortable to change unwanted habits and why it takes a month or two to solidify a new healthy habit – you’re literally rewiring your brain.
Which is why you’re much more likely to achieve your goals if you have an accountability partner.[*]
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, tell them your goals, and hold each other accountable to the challenge.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re already on your way to superhuman status. A huge component to achieving your goals and feeling your best is building a strong internal foundation.
And that will take a supportive community.
Community is a massive tenant at all the Upgrade Labs locations. Support, accountability, and sharing new ideas and technology isn’t just important to us – it’s mandatory.
This is where the rebels gather. To share their stories, their successes and failures, their dreams for the future.
This is where we gather to unleash the superhuman in all of us.
Come and see for yourself.