Dear readers, quite often the various obstacles we come across in our efforts to succeed, are the result of other peoples’ influences. People in our environment, relatives, friends, schoolmates, colleagues may exert some sort of, subtle, influence on us. The eminent personal development guru, Jim Rohn said “your income is the average of the income of the 5 people you meet most frequently in your everyday life”. In a similar vein, Deepak Chopra (the well-known physician and author) said “your degree of happiness is the average of the happiness levels of the 5 most important people in your life”.
But, how does this happen?
I believe, people get attuned to each other’s “frequency”. Imagine there are two pianos in an empty room; we hit the note “G” (Sol) on the first piano and, almost instantly, the corresponding string of the second piano vibrates at the same tone, producing the same sound. Now, can you imagine the same scenario happening between people (instead of pianos) and their feelings? Affective states have been found to be contagious, thus one’s emotional state (or “energy vibration”, if your prefer the more “metaphysical” version) can be transferred to another person.
Social psychology experiments by Rosenthal and Jacobson demonstrated that teachers’ expectations of their students can affect their academic achievements (when teachers expected certain students to perform better, as they believed they had a higher intellectual ability, treated those children in a favorable manner, which in turn led to actual performance improvement -in fact, this is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy). In management science, this phenomenon is called “Pygmalion effect” and refers to how a manager’s expectations of his/her subordinates impact the latter’s performance. Similarly, parents’ expectations of their children might affect their behaviors and, consequently, their life outcomes; our partner’s attitude towards us in a relationship influences our stance, therefore alters the dynamic of the relationship etc.; in other words, to a lesser or greater extent, we are the projection of other peoples’ perceptions!
Therefore, what should we do? Self-knowledge, awareness of who we really are, which feelings are in fact our own and which ones are not, along with a better clarification of our own goals, are the first steps we should take. Next, we have to reflect on how people in our environment make us feel, become aware of their impact on our mentality and emotional status, identify whether they have a positive or negative effect and then, walk away from those who drain our energy.
You see, self-discipline, greater self-awareness and having the right allies, are the prerequisites for a more successful life!