Many times we hear that entrepreneurs and geniuses tend to be loners and introverts. Is there any truth to this? What's the science behind why the right crowd can propel us ahead, while the wrong crowd holds us back? Solomon Asch, a 1950s Swarthmore College psychologist found that each person's estimate varied depending on what everyone else thought. A person surrounded by people who overestimated its length overestimated it too. The same was true for underestimation. People literally saw the line differently depending on who was around them.
When you hold an opinion, an idea, or a desire that matches those of people around you, your brain's reward pathway gets tickled and you feel good. If, on the other hand, your opinion, idea, or desire is different from the ones of people around you, a part of your brain that fires when you feel pain gets activated. When this happens, you do one of two things. You either pretend to agree or your brain actively changes how you think and moulds your innermost thoughts to align with those of your crowd. A recent study showed that you may be using the second option more often than you think. What does this mean?
Even if you have a brilliant, world-changing, innovative streak inside you, you're at risk of abandoning your entrepreneurial ideas, changing your beliefs and surrendering to the pessimism of naysayers if you're surrounded by them. In contrast, if you surround yourself with optimistic, energetic entrepreneurs who aspire to succeed, you're likely to change your innermost thoughts to think like them and become more entrepreneurial, even if you've never entertained entrepreneurial ideas before. If your crowd can change your innermost thoughts, it can change who you are. When you pick people you want to be around, you're choosing the person you want to become. Hence, we say, stick to the norm and choose your friends wisely.