Are You The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With?

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In their recent episode of the VALUE: After Hours Podcast, Taylor, Brewster, and Carlisle discussed Are You The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With? Here’s an excerpt from the episode:

Jake: So, let’s now take this whole concept of sharing energy and running into each other, and let’s abstract it out into a social context of– Jim Rohn has this quote that, “You’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” Tony Robbins has taken that same quote and used it. Think about that. The other molecules in the box with you, that you run into on a regular basis, you share energy, you share values even. In part two, next week, we’re going to start talking about mimetics, and René Girard, and you start to actually share what they want. If you ever stopped to ask yourself like, “Why do I want what I want?”, it’s actually mind-boggling question when you think about it. So, thoughts on that before I move into the next little biology part of this segment?

Tobias: That seems to be right. I hate those pat things like, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time, that’s probably true. That’s got to be true, right? So, why do you want the things that you want? Because your friends want them.

Jake: Well, this goes actually quite deep. I want to do a very good job of it. Well, we’ll carve out- [crosstalk]

Tobias: That’s coming.

Jake: -for it. That’s going to be next week. Yeah, we’re going to get into to mimetics, and why you want what you want. One thing though to hit on before is that there’s this thing inside of you called the vagus nerve. What it is? It’s really like the superhighway of your autonomic nervous system. That’s the thing that just handles stuff while you’re below the subconscious level. So, your heartbeat, your lung functionality, digestion, all the stuff that’s happening inside your body that you’re not having to actively think about is monitored mostly by this vagus nerve. 80% of the traffic on that vagus nerve is the brain sending signals out to tell your body what to do, and then the other your organs, and your glands, and all this machinery that you have inside of you. Then, the other 20% is going the other direction, feeding, sensory, input back to the brain to figure out what things to do next.

Vagus actually is Latin for wandering, and what that– This nerve system wanders all throughout your body. There’s this idea that you want to have good vagal tone, which means– and I know you guys always like it when I–

Tobias: Can you work that out? [crosstalk]

Jake: Yeah, exactly. [laughs] Literally, the electrical impulses that are pulsing in your vagal nerve, they get synched up with other people. That is one of the ways of developing vagal tone is to have a lot of social connections. So, it’s not just that we have this, you’re the average of the five people that you spend your time around, but there’s almost an electrical signal that is analogous to our little molecules bouncing around in the box. So, I love it when we go from physical world to social, and then actually back to the physical world. If I’m able to execute this mimetics piece well enough next week, I’m going to land mimetics back into thermodynamics. We’ll see.

Tobias: [laughs]

Jake: So, here’s some other things in case you are wondering about how to improve vagal tone other than doing your Pilates or whatever it is. [laughs] Cold exposure– [crosstalk] Yeah, frequent movement, obviously, being couch potatoes, bad for your tone of anything. Intermittent fasting, Omega-3s, and then probably one of the biggest things is actually community. So, back to that average of who you spend your time around.

Tobias: Can you achieve it over a podcast?

Jake: I don’t know.

Tobias: Or, actually go into the community?

Bill: That’s a good question. I’ve thought about this a fair amount actually, because I think it has important implications for culture building. My hypothesis is that, because so much communication is nonverbal– and we can see each other now, but how much of the total bandwidth of information about our social interaction between the three of us right now, are we getting compared to if the three of us were in the same room? Obviously, we’ve lost pheromones, we don’t have body language as much. We still have tone, we have the actual word choices. We’ve got a little bit of facial expressions, although it’s probably relatively muted to what we would pick up in person. I’ve got to think that is a relatively low bandwidth way of sharing over Zoom or whatever it is that you’re using relative to if we were in person together. So, I’m not entirely convinced that there’s not–

Tobias: It’s not enough.

Jake: It might not be enough, actually.

Tobias: Yeah, that’s interesting.

Bill: Got to smell each other to really understand each other.

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