Does “Who You Know” Ever Impact “How You’re Doing”?

While we may feel like we are “masters of our own universe,” most of us have a galaxy of friends and connections that impact our lives in a variety of ways. We call them our social networks.

There is the obvious way. We reach out to those we know for help. We have a legal question, so we ask a friend who is a lawyer. Our car has an issue, so we reach out to someone with mechanical experience.

Who we know dictates what we can ask for. If you are looking for a job for yourself or your child, who you can reach out to is critical. If your network is really well connected, chances are you’ll have greater success. If you have a limited network, your opportunities may be limited also.

But our networks also impact us in invisible ways. Research from Nicholas Christakis of Yale University shows that the happiness of others is practically contagious. The Framingham Heart Study is one of the richest datasets ever collected on a single community, spanning over 60 years. In looking at this information over time, he found that if our friends are happy, then our own self-reported happiness increases by 15 percent. And amazingly, if our friend’s friend is happy, then our happiness increases by 10 percent.

Think about your own social network. What benefits have they passed on to you? Now imagine if your network was completely different in its makeup. What would be different about you?Read more about the impact of SOCIAL NETWORKS in our life.

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