There has been a lot of debate over what the key to success really is: Is it patience? Determination? Practice? Or just fate? Well new studies are pointing at friendships as the real key to success.
You probably figured that friendships were important, but science actually proves that you need friendships in order to be successful in all your endeavors.
Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on when you feel emotionally or physically weak, someone to talk to after you had a rough day, or just having the company of someone you trust to root you on friendships are exactly the thing you need to conquer any obstacles.
According to researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, it’s all about the norms you associate with your close friendships.
If you’re having trouble getting yourself up to go to the gym, find a friend who already goes to the gym pretty regularly and the entire ordeal may be much easier for you than you initially thought. Suddenly, you like going to the gym because it gives you a space to hang out with a close friend all while airing your grievances of the day and feeling accomplished once you leave.
As a college student, there was nothing harder for me than trying to find a way to balance working, studying, homework, internships, and trying to build a career all at the same time. Luckily for me, I already had the secret weapon for success – a best friend (Chris) who was just as driven as I was.
We were miles and miles apart but Chris always promised me that we would “meet again at the top of our careers.” Suddenly, it was a norm in our friendship to be up late and to know that a call at 3 in the morning would still be answered by an encouraging voice who was battling the same obstacles I was.
Then there was the sense of accomplishment I had when I was able to have someone there to say they were proud of me. After months and months of sleepless nights, it was having someone like Chris tell me he not only understood me, but he was also proud of me as well that kept me going.
Conquering long nights of studying, double shifts at work, balancing two jobs that soon turned into three, all while interning for three different media outlets was somehow easy for me thanks to a close friend.
Then it came time to go head to head with my weight loss goals. After turning over in my bed one night to see an empty family size back of Kit Kats that I had bought the same day and then waking up in the morning to discover my clothes were a little more snug than usual, I realized it was time to hit the gym and eat healthy.
Of course, making that decision is a lot easier than actually spending hours in the gym and opting for a salad when I really wanted a double cheeseburger. That’s when I realized the importance of my friendship with Amela Sakanovic.
She never forced me to go the gym or do work out DVDs in the living room, but being around her every day made me want to do it anyway. Her healthy lifestyle started to rub off on me without me really realizing it at first.
Suddenly I was pushing my cart through the vegetable aisle in Walmart and completely skipping the candy aisle where my beloved Kit Kats had to wait to find a new home.
We often underestimate the power of friendships – as cliché as that may sound – but friendships truly can make the difference between a grand success or another disappointing failure.
Charles Duhigg explains in That Power of Habit that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new kind of reward. Even more surprising is the fact that as humans we often find companionship to be a reward in itself.
For example, try replacing that afternoon nap with a Skype session with a friend who can help you develop ideas for a new business. Or you can even decide to go jogging with an old pal instead of diving head first into a bag of sugary bliss.
Whatever your goal may be, try to incorporate friendships into your mission and suddenly you may realize that the real key to success was right there encouraging you all along.