The Social Factor

Last week on the blog we talked about how “Belief is Key” in getting things done. Knowing is not enough. Acting on what one believes is the way to make progress in life. A reader commented, wisely, that there are a lot of social factors that get in the way of one acting on their beliefs.

This week, we’ll touch on some of these social factors that make it appear as if things are rigged against a person so that they do more of what they rather not and less of what they would rather do.

For this Motivational Monday, let’s look at some Social Factors that influences Belief.

Let’s Just All Get Along

There is a natural pull to fit in. There is a natural desire to be a part of a group. Without a tribe to belong to, the lone human attempts to do the lone wolf thing and falls prey to loneliness and isolation.

Leave a baby alone to fend for itself long enough, it will die from social isolation. The biology will shut down and terminate itself. The human being is very much a social creature that needs other humans to thrive.

The Average of…


As a result of this natural need to belong, people will often make choices that facilitates getting along with whomever you’re with. Should you believe you can become a great data scientist but everyone in your environment tells you that you can’t do that (for whatever list of reasons)… chances are good that you’re not going to make it. You will more than likely do a similar career path as those who are around you.

Key word is Likely… not definitively. That’s why there are certain identifying traits for certain towns, villages, cities, and countries. A shared experience. Shared value system. Share belief system. It normalizes what is considered normal behavior and acceptable practices.

“Your are the average of the five people closest to you” – Jim Rohn paraphrased quote.

This is another reason why many wonderful caring moms and dads have given their children the third degree about the choice of friends they make. But see… the problem isn’t always the choice of friends people make.

The problem is that many settle for the default choice of convenience to fit into a group.


Selection Bias

We tend to be friends with whomever we are closest to. That is the friends we made because we shared the same classroom. The friends we made because we shared the same vacation trip experience or the same church congregation or the same office floor. How often do we bother to actively go look for people we feel will help us grow and build our belief system the direction we want it to grow?

There is some of that going on actually. People move to places that have similar political views or congregate around the same websites. That’s one thing. The active selection process is more deliberate than that.

Example. Should one of your values be not swearing… then the active point of finding friends who don’t swear is critical to improving your odds of not swearing. Not that friends alone will make or break your belief about not swearing.

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