25 percent and 5 people

Posted on November 6, 2012 by

I want a different culture than the one we live in right now.  I want a culture with more body joy and less body shame, more yeses and hows and fewer no’s and we-can’ts.

If I could have my way with a magic wand, we would live in a gift economy and it would all work.

We’re not there yet, not as a whole, although small pockets of people are definitely experimenting with what happens when you change the rules.

But I’m also not stuck with the luck of the draw, and neither are you.

Want something different?  Make some choices.

Surround yourself with people who have what you want: the mindset, the choices, the behavior.  You can’t change everything, but change your daily world to reflect where you’re going.  Scientists say that your worldview and choices are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  These are the people who influence you.  All the time.  Choose them wisely.

And then there’s larger cultural transmission.

In years of running conferences and organizations, I have discovered that if you want the culture to stay stable, you can only admit 25% new people at one time.  That allows those people to become acculturated without really changing the culture they are joining.  On the other hand, if you want the culture to change, bring in more than 25% new people, preferably all of whom are the kinds of people you want to see more of.  They will become the majority, and the culture will shift.  Yes, you have to adjust for power dynamics.  Yes, it’s not an exact science.  But it matters.

Who are your 5 people?  Do you need to change something?  Tell us in the comments!