“She has been starting to run with a bad crowd.” At some point we have all heard a parent respond to a question about their teenager’s objectionable behavior with this common phrase. The underlying principle is that ‘who we associate with can play a big role in our choices and actions’. Ironically, we don’t see parents responding with “He has fallen in with a good crowd” when someone complements their son’s good grades, but we will leave that for another day. Parents believe rightly that a child’s friends have a huge impact on their choices, although somewhere along the line we tend to think we matured into free thinking adults. The truth is we need to be aware of the influence that can come our social networks.
Picture a single guy, Jim, who has friends that go into debt for very nice items, such as sports cars, plasma TVs, and golf memberships.
I read a comment on the topic of getting rid of TV from the household that echoed this principle very well. Just one Christmas after removing the TV from the house, the parents were amazed at how content their children were with the meager gifts they could afford. The parents had removed part of their children’s social network that provided them with a significant amount of input. The images on TV had bred a discontent for the lifestyle that the parents could provide. TV wasn’t encouraging the children down a path that meshed with the parent’s vision, so it was cut off.
A good place to start can be to ask ourselves these two questions: What are the players in our social network saying to us? Does it align with my vision for the future?
Here is a quick application from my life. Part of my dreams includes working from home and starting my own business, yet all of the people around me are in 9-5 jobs. Although I enjoy my circle of friends, I would be ‘abnormal’ with regards to my career vision. This says to me that I should augment my network with some entrepreneurs and other people who have transitioned to earning a living from home.