You Are the Company You Keep: Dr. Brynn's Brain-Based Productivity Boosters
You've heard it before: You are what you eat. You're the thoughts you think. You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. 'Show me your friends and I'll show you your future.' etc.
These statements are provocative, but are they true?
Well according to the neuroscience, yes.
From a neural perspective, you really do become the company you keep.
Well, your brain is highly neuroplastic throughout the course of your life, not plummeting to zero as you age, as we once thought. Accordingly, neural networks are constantly changing, evolving, renegotiating their associations in your brain on an ongoing basis, every single moment, every single day, in response to both internal (e.g. your thoughts) and external (e.g. other people and their thoughts) stimuli.
We say that neurons that 'fire together, wire together' - it doesn't take long (or more than 2 practice runs) before a thought has its own neural pathway - practiced and primed - ready for ongoing future use. And the more you 'use' that thought, the more 'true' (practiced, primed) it becomes - not just neuro-functionally - but literally, neuro-anatomically.
Further, 80% of all neural networks are involved in social processing - neuroscientists say that social processing is 'king' - which means the brain prioritizes social processing very heavily: so the people - their actions, reactions, words, opinions, preferences, proclivities - quickly become primed neural networks for you as you observe, witness, and spend time with them.
Add these two phenomena together (plastic quality of our brains and the inborn predominance of social processing) and you realize that your social environment and the people you spend the most time with are the ones who will be influencing your neural networks, the resulting thoughts you think, the experiences you have, the opinions you develop, the preferences you express...and heck, even the food you eat!
At the neural level, you quickly become like the company you keep: in all kinds of tiny, unconscious ways every day.
David Burkus (https://medium.com/the-mission/youre-not-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-surround-yourself-with-f21b817f6e69) wrote an article wherein the title is a misnomer: he didn't just find that your immediate friends affect you significantly (you do become your friends, he asserts) - he finds that your friends friends (second order people you may never have met) and friends of friends of friends (third order folks you almost certainly haven't met) affect you significantly: the social networks of your friends affect them, which in turn affects you - you're not just the company you keep, you're the company your friends keep, and so on.
So, this week, if you want to achieve more, build a better you, become more productive, get to your peak-performing self - go ahead and start by auditing the company you keep!
Want more productivity pointers? www.drbrynn.com
Watch the whole video here: https://youtu.be/AmWOk2NBAXI