Proximity is one of the most powerful forces on earth, yet it can also be the most subtle. We don’t realize it, but we are heavily affected by our everyday surroundings and the people closest to us.
The Proximity Principle
In social psychology, the proximity principle refers to having interpersonal connections to whomever we are close to. This phenomenon, when looked at closely, has more of an impact than we realize.
Our Five People
Jim Rohn, a famous motivational speaker, said “we are an average of the five people we spend the most time with”. He would correlate his methodology with the law of averages and would find this theory to be true.
It was found that the mannerisms of friends would be alike if they spent a lot of time together, and interestingly, their belief systems, financial situations, and goals for life were also similar.
A Hard Look at Ourselves
Because of this understanding, we have to have a hard look at our own lives. Because proximity is so subtle, you will not realize that you are off course until you are far off.
There is nothing wrong with hanging out with our friends, but some people are so influential that a day might be fine and a week is too much.
If the people you are spending time with have a lower expectation of life than you, you will naturally lower the standards of your goals by spending a lot of time with them. Coincidently, if the people you spend time with have a higher expectation of life, you will raise your standards by being around them.
How to Use Proximity to Your Advantage
By knowing the power of proximity, you can use it to help you achieve your goals. If you wanted to play the piano, you would get in proximity to a great piano player to learn their rituals and way of thinking.
If you wanted to become more successful financially, you would surround yourself with people who are making more money than you to learn what they are doing that is different than you.
If you wanted to be a better mom, you could immerse yourself in books from women before you or join a mom group.
There are so many possibilities, the options are limitless.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
For you to use the power of proximity to our advantage, you would have to be an underdog in a scenario. Sometimes it feels good to be the big fish in a small pond, but you will never grow into a better version of yourself that way.
Growth requires vulnerability, and that would require courage from you. It is hard to walk away from people or situations that are not serving you. It is difficult to be around new people that make you feel insecure about certain areas of your life, but it is in your discomfort that you find strength.
If you choose to position yourself to grow, you open the doors of possibility. There are so many opportunities life has to offer for you, but you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone to be able to experience it.