Supportive friends make you live longer

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“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”

- Mark Caine

Today’s post goes hand-in-hand with our online presentation on: How to Find & Meet Inspiring, Passionate & Supportive People In Your Hometown. You can see the recording here.

Onward…

Is Your Community Helping or Hurting You?

The goal of Live Your Legend is to provide the ideal environment and resources for making your impact on the world. Everything we do is to serve that purpose for you all.

By now we should all know that the people around us shape who we are.

They will either mold you to change the world or cause the world to collapse on your shoulders.

In order to do anything meaningful – be it lose 50 pounds, run your first marathon, or do the work and make the impact only you are capable of making, you must have a support network that helps make it possible.

So I want to challenge you to ask what may turn out to be some hard questions.

Today I ask that you to give some real honest thought to your surroundings…

Look around you right now. Think about who you’ve spent the most time with in the past few days or week. How about the past year or two, or maybe even the last decade.

When was the last time you had dinner with a group of people you fully opened up to – and felt comfortable being who you really are?

When was the last time you met up with friends over tea and shared your latest crazy idea, only to hear them respond with thoughts of encouragement and share their own ‘ridiculous’ plans?

When was the last time you went on a run or workout with someone who left you buzzing with inspiration, ideas and possibility – so much so that you found yourself sweating on your notebook or keyboard because you couldn’t let a shower keep you from your latest epiphany?

Really think about this. How often do interactions like this happen?

How often do you feel genuinely accepted, supported, encouraged, inspired and empowered by the people you interact with?

Or perhaps we could frame it the other way.

When was the last time an idea of yours got ridiculed, laughed at or dramatically misunderstood by the people around you? Or much worse, maybe you never even brought the idea up because you feared how the people around you would react.

Be honest. Stop for a minute and think about the network of supporters you have in your life that you get to interact with on a day-to-day basis.

Are you proud of it?

Are your surroundings allowing you to have the impact you want to have? Or are they keeping that impact from having a chance at happening in the first place?

Getting this right will change everything.

But it starts with recognizing where you are.

As it turns out, the right community is not only crucial for doing work you love. Your community can also be a legitimate matter of life or death…

Surprising Evidence that the Right Community Leads to a Longer Healthier Life

I spent the last few days in Mexico with Chelsea celebrating her 30th birthday. As I was out by the sand thinking about the long-term future of our community here, I had what I believe was the most empowering realization I’ve had all year.

It happened as I was reading my friend Lissa Rankin’s new book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, which hit the NYT bestseller list last week, a few days after launch. It shares decades of medical research proving the real underlying lifestyle causes of most disease, and the various miraculous ways our mind and body are able to either cure themselves or keep from getting sick in the first place.

The core theme is that the root cause of most all sickness is stress. And as it turns out, two of the stressors that top the charts are not having a community that genuinely supports you and hating your job. That’s why she wrote a guest post for us a few weeks ago titled Surprising Science: Medical Proof that Doing Work You Love Could Save Your Life.

I’ve always said that if I weren’t running Live Your Legend, I’d be doing something in health and fitness – my other obsession. Reading the statistics in this book made me realize I already am! As it turns out, loving your job and surrounding yourself with the right people is some of the best preventive medicine on the planet. This realization brought a whole new level of purpose to the work we’re doing at LYL, and provided a little more understanding for why our Connect with Anyone course and community has helped people more than anything I’ve worked on to date.

Community & purpose matter in a lot of ways. 

To give you a feel, I’d like to share a few direct pieces of medical data and findings from Lissa’s book…

  • One study examining the people of Alameda County, California, found that, in every age and sex category, people with the fewest social ties were three times more likely to die over a nine-year period than those who reported the most social ties. Those with more social connections were even found to have lower rates of cancer. 
  • Another study concluded that as a general rule of thumb, if you belong to no groups but decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.
  • A Harvard study of nearly 3,000 senior citizens found that those who were consistently engaged in social activity outlived their reclusive peers by an average of 2.5 years.
  • A UCSF study of 3,000 nurses with breast cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that those who went through cancer alone were four times more likely to die from their disease than those with 10 or more friends supporting their journey.
  • A Swedish study published in the European Heart Journal found that men with heart disease are much less likely to have heart attacks if they’re involved in a supportive community.
  • Some studies even showed the benefit of a close community had as big of an effect on health as quitting smoking and exercising regularly.

This data can be hard to believe, and I strongly suggest you read about it for yourself in Mind Over Medicine. But either way, hearing this serves as a wake up call.

I always knew that a supportive community would either make your career or break it. But I didn’t realize it could actually dramatically effect the length and quality of your life.

Our surroundings matter. They likely matter more than any other single factor in your life.

So I’ll ask again – do the people around you aplaud you and your ideas or do they ridicule them?

Are you surrounded by people who support who you are and who you want to become?

It starts with one friend.

If you’re starting to realize your surroundings could use some help, you’re in the right place. That is why our community at Live Your Legend exists.

Like everything, transforming your surroundings starts small.

Take a minute to think of one person in your life who inspires you. It could be a friend, colleague, family member, anyone.

Do something this week to spend a little more time with them – set up a lunch, a workout, a dinner, a double date, whatever.

Also think of 2-3 people who drain your energy. Vow to spend a little less time with them this week. Life’s too short for toxic friends. Then again, if they’re toxic, can you really call them friends?

Remember, you are 100% in control of your surroundings. You just have to decide to do something about it.

What might you be able to do with the right people in your corner?

We’re here to help you find out.

-Scott

P.S. Because this topic is so close to my heart, I hosted a free live presentation for our community on How to Find & Meet Inspiring, Passionate & Supportive People In Your Hometown.

The goal is simply to give you all the tools and guidance necessary to find, meet and befriend the people in your hometown necessary for building your ideal business or career (and help you live longer).

Now go hang out with someone who inspires you!


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  • Christian

    Yeah, great post! Thank you for your inspiring work, Scott. Today i´m going to party with some of my new friends. They are the first people since a long time who really let me be my myself, i´m so thankful for getting to know them. I´ve the feeling that since they are my friends things starting to happen, in my life and mind.
    So i want to remember all the living legends from germany that i´ve an email ([email protected]) to collect all of you who are interessted in an lyl-event somewhere in germany or want to host their own (that i´m grabbing the adresses doesn´t mean that i want to be the host, but we will see).
    Regards Christian

    • Scott

      Wow Christian- congrats on having found your core group and for being up for helping us continue to grow the community out in Germany. That’s huge. Can’t wait to see what you guys put together!

      • Shauna

        Hey Scott and Christian,

        I just read the comments and this really excited me! LYL always seemed so far away for me, as I am currently living in Austria/Germany.

        I have had real struggles with letting new people into my life and letting my perception of my environment and limited possiblities drag me down. In addition I have this alwful feeling of paralyzation when it comes to realizing my dreams and passions.

        That we could start something in Germany/Austria would really excite me and I’d love to participate in that!

        Thank you so much Scott for all that you do…you always give me the feeling that everything is full of possibilities.

        Best,
        Shauna

  • http://lornali.com/ Lorna

    Yo Scott,

    I definitely resonate with this post – have been going thru an active process of pruning toxic friends from my tribe, because, as an entrepreneur, your business depends on your energy, clarity of mind, and productivity – all of which toxic people can drain. Then it’s imperative to fill your network with visionary people, who will support you, inspire you, and expand the total mindshare value of your network. I was inspired to write these 2 posts because I did not head the words of my business coach, who recommended I cut my losses and end my toxic, draining biz partnership, which ultimately cost me $50K. My one regret is that had I listened to my coach, my losses would have been $20K less.

    Here’s my 2 step process to giving your network an extreme makeover:

    1) Prune Your Social Garden http://lornali.com/eliminate-toxic-people/
    2) How to Fill Your Tribe with Visionary People http://lornali.com/business-network-visionary-people/

    Thank you so much for creating a business aimed at helping people connect with visionaries and uplevel their community! Rock on!

    • Scott

      Thanks for sharing these pieces Lorna. Love seeing we’re on the same page with this!

  • John

    Sounds like a great presentation. Will it be made available afterward to those of us who can’t attend the live version because of work?

    • Greg

      I could not make the live presentation due to work as well and would also be interested in the recorded version.

      Thanks

      • Rashhmini

        Can I echo the above. I was gutted I coudln’t watch the live presentation due to work and am very keen to watch the recorded version.

        Thank you!

        • Karen Smith

          I was really looking forward to the presentation and could not attend due to an unexpected meeting :(. I would love to watch a recorded version! Thank you!!

          • Scott

            Have no fear everyone. It will be uploaded in the next few days!

  • http://www.leansocialimpact.com Etienne

    Great post! I agree that the community you surround yourself with matters more than people think.

    • Scott

      Thanks Etienne. It’s wild how much control the people around us have. We just have to embrace that – then things start to get pretty fun.

  • http://www.hannesuys.com Hannes Uys

    I agree – society in general should have no say in your aspirations. Too much a negative cloud hanging around.

    • Scott

      Better to tune it out with the people around you!

  • http://thepursuitofpurpose.net Leah Hynes

    Scott, the importance of your message cannot be understated. From doing the How to Connect with Anyone course I have people in my life that have, and continue, to change my life. It is that simple.

    I have literally never been happier, more inspired, confident and enthusiastic about life. And this is because of the people that have entered my life in the past eight months.

    Freaking amazing times!!!!!

    • Scott

      You created this luck for yourself in a huge way Leah. I love how much you’ve embraced it!

  • http://tinnitusassist.com Margaret

    Some time ago I read a book by Jonar C. Nader – How to Lose Friends & Infuriate People which has your premise as its basis. The title is a play on the well known Dale Carnegie book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and has an equally sound purpose. To help you improve you world. Essentially it is a book for people who want to conquer their life, get on top of their work and their environment so they can make a mark in the best possible sense.

    • Scott

      Can’t believe I haven’t heard of that book Margaret. I am a huge fan of the Dale’s original. Probably the most powerful book I’ve ever read. I’ll have to check the other out!

  • Lisa

    Wow, great post! This really hits home with me.

  • http://achievethegreenberetway.com/welcome Mike Martel

    I like the tone of personal responsibility of the post. We are in charge of ourselves and our situation. By consciously, selecting who we allow in our lives we can select the “good inputs’ versus “bad inputs.” Now I am not saying we should have a bunch of yes people around us. What I do suggest is that you take a look at what your circle has created for themselves and decide if that is the same thing you want for yourself. Remember the old adage – your income is the average of your five closest friends…

    • Scott

      Agreed. It’s not about Yes people. It’s about having people who align with your values and approach to the world and who will provide the support (both in the form of challenging your ideas and encouraging them). Reminds me of a management adage I heard a while back – If all the leaders in an organization agree on everything, then someone’s not necessary ;).

  • http://www.linasanden.se Lina

    Such an interesting article – it strenghted my feeling that I need to move towards building a network for myself of people who’d love my crazy ideas ;)

    I think there’s one other element that’s interesting within this topic – when you have friends that are LOVELY, they’re charming, fun, shiny happy people.
    But there’s the creeping suspicion that they’d might not be happy if I changed a few things around in my life – that could affect them.

    That’s the type of “toxicity” that I feel in the community of people I have around me. They’re not bad people and they would never belittle or ridicule my ideas – but I have a feeling they wouldn’t like them either.

    I’m embarking on some big changes in my life, I’m thankful and happy for this post – came in at the right time ;)

    • Scott

      Congrats on your realization Lina. I know it’s not always easy to come to grips with that. But realizing it is what makes all the difference. We’re here to support however we can!

      • Adrienne

        Hi Scott,

        I don’t know how I found this website but I did and have spent some time reading. I don’t know if you will see this or even want to respond to it but here goes.
        I cringe when I hear about how great and passionate people should remove the ‘toxic’ people from their life. I am apparently one of those ‘toxic’ people but more than that I had suffered from an undiagnosed illness since May 2006 through my wedding in April 2008 and even through finally being diagnosed in August 2010. I had always been an outgoing, enthusiastic person, I worked hard and even worked hard at a job I had created for myself and loved for many years. Sometime before May 2006 I had not felt normal, I had turned down a summer job that I had always looked forward to. In May I started breaking out all over my body, beginning with my left wrist. I went to every doctor I could think of or was told to go to. The months marched on and I continued to become more ill. I had open, oozing lesions all over me, inside my nose and my eyes, covering my skin to my hands, (palms and backs), and same with my feet. I tested positive for MRSA and would be treated, have a few weeks of relief, only to have it return with a vengeance. No one had any idea what was causing me to break out. In 2007 my partner, who I had been with for ten years, asked me to marry her, (my partner was a MtoF non-op), I have never been married and was so in love, I said yes. We planned our wedding for April 2008 despite my skin, and in fact the sheer joy that I felt seemed to help my skin, I sent out the invitations and all. I couldn’t believe that this person still wanted to marry me! In February 2008 my partner lost her job, I asked her if we should postpone the wedding. No. So I went through what I can say was the most joyful, wondrous day of my life.
        Over the next year I continued to get worse. So bad, MRSA covering me, I couldn’t stand to have anything touch my skin, but I couldn’t stand the constant dripping and oozing. I sat so many times holding a gun, shaking, not knowing how much longer I could take the unrelenting pain. My partner had been unable to find work anywhere near what she earned previously and was working long hours at a blue collar job that she loved nonetheless.
        Then in December of 2009 she got hired as a temp at a large company that improved our finances somewhat and had the possibility to turn into a permanent position. As I became so much sicker than I’ve ever been in my life, she began to work longer hours. As I was the one in charge of handling all the finances, it wasn’t long before I noticed that her hours and her income weren’t adding up. My extreme illness combined with this growing dismay and fear didn’t help to make me a charming person.
        One day in August 2010 my partner told me about a lady she worked with who had suffered for five years with what seemed to be the exact same symptoms I had! She made an appointment for me with an allergist and August 28, 2010 I was diagnosed with an extreme case of what had begun as a latex allergy, spread into asthma, (I was diagnosed with in my thirties), and now I was allergic to a certain protein found in latex, and nearly every grain, fruit and vegetable and somewhat in shrimp.
        He told me it would possibly take a year or more of me not consuming or being in contact with this protein before I would see any significant improvement.
        I don’t know if you can imagine how this affected me. I know I am unable to express it, except maybe the moment when you are under water drowning, sure you have reached the point of no return, and suddenly your face is breaking the surface and you are gulping in air with the sun blinding you.

        It seemed like we had been given a second chance. We were excitedly searching for recipes using my very limited resources, we started cooking dinner together, again, we chatted happily together. I was ALIVE! I was going to make it! We were going to make it!
        We were going to make it?
        A week after my diagnoses I discovered terrible things on my partner’s computer. Things that had begun back in February 2010. I found papers from some classes that she took right before she got offered the temp job. Some results from tests she had taken. In every paper, was the statements that she was unhappy, I was dragging her down, that she deserved to be happy and she wasn’t responsible for how I felt, etc.

        We went to counseling. At the first session when asked to rate 1 to 10, how much we were wanting our marriage to work. I answered 9! No 10! She stated 2.
        Somehow the counselor asked something about if we were friends. We had always said we were each others best friends, always. My partner said that “Michelle” was her best friend, (a girl that I thought was both our friends). I was sitting, but I felt the earth open and start to swallow me up, I wanted it to. But then it didn’t and I have been near crazed with depression. On December 23, 2010, she left for work and didn’t return.
        When she finally called me she said she wanted to try to work it out. And we went out a few times, the last she took me for a night at the resort where we shared our first kiss. I has floating, hopeful. A week later she appeared unannounced, with a co-worker who didn’t like me and the co-worker made a scene demanding to be let inside to get my partner’s belongings.
        The e-mails back and forth between us from then on were full of how toxic I was for her, and things that she claimed had happened that I was never aware of. I was so completely lost, still desperately ill, and having no family and the few friends we had, choosing her over me. The only thing that I was alive for is a tiny four and a half pound chihuahua girl that we got when she fit in my hand, and she had loved her two moms for seven years, with all her heart.
        I know this is long and tedious, and probably confusing, but our divorce was final October 12, 2012. The only thing I live for is my pup and my stepsister who visits occasionally. My pup still waits, when we go to bed, staring at the door. Waiting for my ex. And it just crushes my heart.
        I went from a happy person, to a very sick person, to a very sick person with severe depression,(there is more but too much to write), to now since sticking to my diet, my skin is so much better generally. But everything I ever was, every hope, every dream, every passion, everything I ever knew about myself is gone. I am drowning and my little pup is too small to be my lifesaver. I thought I had been depressed in the past, now I know I was just sad. This depression is worse and darker and more hopeless than I could ever dreamed.
        Ask any counselor, or any friend who knew us. They will all agree my partner was right in getting out. I say I was just sick, and given the time, with her by my side, I would have not had the depression, etc to deal with, but would have found myself happier and more fun and ready to just LIVE again!
        In sickness and in health…..

  • Victoria Dixon

    Fantastic webinar yesterday Scott! I feel so inspired!

    Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for creating LIVE YOUR LEGEND and continuing to inspire people. Your enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious!

    • Scott

      I can’t tell you what it means to hear this Victoria. Thank you for being a part of the revolution. You add more to this than you surely realize!

  • http://www.shaynjordan.com Shay Jordan

    As I am going through issues with negative people and close minded friends, I am learning that with what I want to create for my life and what I want to help others with is that I need to really limit and/or eliminate my time with the negative people who don’t support me. I loved this blog!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Scott

      Well we love having you here Shay! You’ve come to the right places given then changes you plan to make. This is going to be fun :)

  • Jojo

    It would be great if a record of the webinsr was emailed out. I missed it as well.

    • Scott

      Recording coming soon!

  • http://bringinghomebeaufort.com Mark Newsome

    Scott – the webinar this week was GREAT! Many, many thanks for that, but also for being such a positive influence on so many people!

    • Scott

      Absolutely my pleasure Mark. So glad you enjoyed it!!

  • Jennie Allen

    Hey Scott-
    Unfortunately I could not make the live presentation. I will be looking forward to the recording. :)
    I have just started eliminating the “toxic” from my life. However, I find it hard to meet like minded people in my area (Daytona Beach, Fl) Do you have any advice for me?
    Thank you so much for the amazing post!
    much love-
    Jennie

  • http://potential2success.com/wake-up-early-without-hating-it.html Ralph

    Its difficult to decipher whether people are just being negative or if they are giving you an objective approach. Thats why I try not to eliminate the people in my life but instead, limit the amount of influence they may have. Finding the right community is key though. It gives you both sides of the coin and, in my case, keeps me open to other view points as well as allows me to be a positive influence in their lives! How come I’ve never come across this blog before??

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  • http://dealsonoakleysunglasses3.weebly.com oakley or ray ban

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

  • Andy

    Great article, but I wander how to find friends with a healthy balance of support and an ability of telling the truth. Just to prevent myself to become an American Idol contestant who does not have a voice, but praised into believing that he does by his friends support group.

  • Ruby Jageurs

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  • Nicola

    Hi Scott, I have to say this post is really hitting home right now. Thanks to one of your most recent emails, I’ve been going through a number of your blog posts over the last hour and it’s been an interesting little mental journey. I joined LYL pretty much directly after I had quit my first professional job, due to stress and generally not being able to stand another minute. At that time I have to say it was really too early for me to know what I could possibly do next. It’s been 6 months or so since then, I took your advice, didn’t panic about finding a job and went travelling (although it was what I had decided to do before I quit anyway). I’m sitting on a ferry to Athens at the moment and while it’s taken a lot of thinking and reflecting, I feel like I’m making progress towards a) finding the work I can’t not do and b) how my current skills apply to that work. One of the other things that has been interesting is my reflecting and reading (of your posts, among other things) has given me a much deeper understanding of what kind of environment I need to work best and why my previous job felt so awful. This post pretty much sums up one of the main reasons it was so bad, the work environment was filled with toxic people. I guess I just want to say thanks for writing the things you do because it is literally the stuff they don’t tell when you’re growing up and choosing your career.
    Cheers
    Nicola

  • http://www.socialpronow.com David Morin

    When you wrote “It starts with one friend” I came to think about a study that I came across a while ago that blew my mind. Perhaps you’ve heard about it before, I know that you’re quite well up to date with stuff like this.

    In the study, students at their first day in class were instructed to take random seats in a classroom. They didn’t know each other from before and this was the first time they met.

    One year later, they were asked by the researchers to rank which ones of their peers they liked the most. It turned out that the students had made the best friends with those that they – by chance – had ended up next to that very first day in class.

    This shows that we often end up to be friends with the person we happen to meet first in a new social situation. I was thinking back to my friends and at least to me, this is very true.

    Here’s a link to the study on SAGE in case you’re interested:
    http://pss.sagepub.com/content/19/5/439.extract#

    Something completely different. Are you running WordPress or is your site custom made? I saw the link to Outthink but didn’t get much wiser. Anyway, I like the look and feel of it :)

    Cheers!
    David