Your social environment are the people that influence your life: your thinking, your drive, your actions, and your feelings.
The social cognitive theory holds that portions of an individual’s knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences.
This gives us the two elements of our social environment
You’ve probably heard the saying. “You’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” But that isn’t limited to your friends or people you know. This age of social media has given us access to many people and allows us to see how they think and create. So they are both important in crafting your social environment.
Take a look around you; be mindful of the things that are occupying your mind. “Draw a circle around yourself – invite people in or keep them out. We are the creators of our social geometry. Calculate your volume.” – Unknown
New Environment Syndrome
Herd Mentality is the tendency for people’s behavior or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong. But I noticed a pattern; we pursue herd mentality a little bit more when we’re in a new environment. However, it’s such a slow and subtle process so we don’t realize it.
About a year into university, I noticed I was living a less self-aware life because of the relationships I was in. I rushed into “convenient” relationships because I was scared to be alone. It wasn’t a drastic change but it was enough of a change that it began to dim the lamp of my creativity and intimacy with my greatness.
“’ People would rather live in a community with unreasonable claims than face loneliness with their truth.” – Bangambiki Habyarimana
At the start of a new chapter in your life, you might be so eager to find a new environment that you end up aligning with a person or a group that is not for you. New environments scare us but be careful not to jump into relationships and start losing yourself slowly. “Ordinary people are products of their environment and fit in. Artists transcend their environment and stand out.”- Oliver Gaspirtz
Effects of our Social Environment
Personality and Behavior: According to a research study by the University of Western Australia our social environment is an important driver of our behavioral nature. It induces considerable behavior plasticity. These interactions mold your personality. The study further proves that stopping these interactions affects the repeatability of behaviors and disrupts personalities.
There’s a direct link from our human interactions to our personality. It’s like a push and pull. An amazing example is Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries; we can notice a sharp character arc after a few seasons. She went from being a nice kind girl to someone who would cross any lines to save her family. I guess hanging out with murderous vampires will do that to you.
Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling from others. – Albert Bandura
Motivation and Mediocrity: I believe one of the most devastating things that can happen is a gradual lowering of the standards you have for your life because of the impact of a few relationships.
Mediocrity is a slippery slope, sometimes you don’t even know you’re on that path till it’s too late. And to be very honest a lot of people are happy being mediocre and you’ll be infected with that line of thinking if you’re not intentional about your relationships. Learn the importance of being around the highest quality of people: who excite you to become a better person. Our environment profoundly shapes our productivity and impact.
It’s about resisting the tyranny of the ordinary, refusing to allow negativity to hijack your sense of awe, and preventing any form of slavery to mediocrity from infesting your life. – The 5 AM Club
Social Environment Design
- Developing A Social Circle
Crafting your social environment should not be done in rush. You should take every relationship in stages so you can weigh the people you should be in alignment with.
You should take each relationship in these stages, from acquitance to causal friend to close frined to intimate friend. And you can do this effectively by setting healthy boundaries. I think we sometimes make the mistake of developing convenient friendships just because we’re scared of loneliness.
“It’s EXTREMELY important to have the right people around you. It’s betterto be alone than to have small thinkers in your circle.” – Maya Elious
- Crafting Your Online Environment
The content you consume is just as important as your social circle because it’s produced by real humans. There’s a human mind is behind every tweet or article or podcast we consume. We’re in a world where we’re fusing ourselves with the media we consume, so what would you consume? How do you want to think?
The Paradox of Abundance by David Perell states that the average quality of information is getting worse and worse, while the best gets better and better. That’s why the markets of abundance are simultaneously bad for the median consumers but good for conscious consumers.
The key word is conscious consumers. Craft your online environment intentionally so every tweet, article, video, or podcast is of the highest quality.
Think of your social environment as a piece of art. Art is never finished, only abandoned – Leonardo Da Vinci. You are never done finding new content. It’s continual and never-ending. And to be honest that makes me a little bit excited.