There’s a famous admonishment by Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. Studies have shown that communities, or as Seth Godin would call them, tribes, are an incredibly important determinant of your success, health and happiness. Keeping yourself in good company is more important than ever in setting the tone for your life.
Here are three reasons you need to keep good company.
1. Community life. Malcolm Gladwell begins his book, Outliers, discussing a community in Roseto, Italy, that is very unique. This small community seems to have figured out how to translate community into a happy and long life, free of fad diets, substance abuse and crime.
Its residents enjoy a high-fat diet and clean living. The daily life of a Rosetan appears to be jam packed with social interaction, mutual interdependence, good health and other equally happy individuals. What is it that makes them so unique?
Researchers suggest it’s the community structure and interdependence that’s creating such a utopian world. This of course runs counter to so many cultures' idea that the individual is the most important thing, but the Rosetan community seems to buck the popular idea that we’re better, healthier and happier alone.
It makes you stop and think as an entrepreneur about the community you’re surrounded by. How is your community contributing to your life? What are you doing to add to the value of your community?
2. Only the lonely. John T. Cacioppo’s groundbreaking book, Loneliness, is dedicated to shedding the light on the importance of community for mental health and long life. While our culture is one of individuality, it turns out from his research that there’s a lot more to be said for happiness as part of a bigger, collective whole of family and your tribe.
His studies found a direct correlation between more time spent online and feelings of loneliness, where more time offline with family and close friends in face-to-face meetings correlated with feelings of safety, security and improved mental function.
It turns out the ability to be around your peers can actually help improve your decision-making. Don’t have family nearby? There’s a very real case to be made for seeking out a tribe of your own that’s local, accessible and frequently available to you.
3. Circle of safety. While you probably already know Simon Sinek’s famous “Start With Why” TED Talk, you may not have read his most recent book, Leaders Eat Last.
In it, Sinek presents case studies for organizations and groups that have long, healthy experiences through a community emphasis on a “circle of safety.” This idea of a safe place is what Sinek says makes for a great community that benefits all members involved because they know they can trust the person standing next to them, be that on the actual battlefield or in the entrepreneur’s cubicle.
There’s an inherent trust and sense of do unto others that permeates healthy communities and results in tight bonds between humans. Would the people in your community do anything for you? And what about you? Do you go above and beyond and put everything on the line to support your tribe with trust and everything you’ve got?
Building a healthy circle of safety and trust starts with you making the first move to genuinely care about, support and build that community yourself.
Related: Stop Spending Time With Toxic People