Surround Yourself With People Where the Outcome You Want is the Average Result

I’ve signed up for an 84km ultra marathon this June.

When I mentioned this to friends and family, the responses varied, but most of them were along the lines of:

“Are you crazy?” “Is that even possible?” “Are you sure you’ll be able do that?”

Before these conversations, the doubts in my mind were like a roaring fire.

Afterwards, it was like I had poured petrol on the flames.

I recently joined a mountain running club to prepare for the race.

We meet on Tuesday nights for trail running through forests, mountains — and a lot of muck!

It’s a good laugh and the group contains a mix of lively, interesting characters.

The first night I was there, I got into a conversation with someone who had run a 200km race the previous year.

The second night, I met someone who is training for a 300km event next month.

Speaking with them shifted something internally for me.

84km no longer feels like a huge deal — because if these guys can do 200 and 300, then 84 is certainly within the realm of possibility.

This has left me with two takeaways.

The first is that our beliefs about what we are capable of are heavily influenced by the people around us.

The second is that when I’m setting a goal in the future (in any domain: physical, business, writing, etc.), I want to surround myself with people where that outcome is already a normal result.

In other words, where achieving it is the norm, rather than the exception.

We are a social species, hardwired for a tribal way of life.

And the more I think about it, I realise that we often don’t rise to the level of our aspirations.

Instead, we default to the standards of our peer group.

Therefore, if you’re interested in pursuing a goal that will stretch you beyond your current capabilities (physically, mentally, financially, etc.), it can be helpful to ask:

Is there a group of people where this outcome is already an average result?

And if so, how can I connect with them?

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Niall McKeever

Writer and Founder of The Weekend University. Passionate about making great ideas more accessible.

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