The Importance of Community for Learning and Growth
Paranoia. We all know what it is. Many of us have experienced it first hand (especially with a year like 2020). But what about Pronoia?
No, it’s not a feeling of distrust or threat or uneasiness. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Pronoia is, in the words of John Perry Barlow, "the suspicion the Universe is a conspiracy on your behalf". It is an enduring optimism and trust that life will provide. Think of it like the antithesis of Murphy’s Law: in a state of pronoia, one believes that anything that can go right will go right, and this is because of an underlying belief that the universe and those within it are leading you in the right direction.
In our complex world, pronoia may feel simplistic.
But what we have found in our research and own lived experience is that we each have the power to cultivate a life of pronoia, whereby things fall effortlessly into place, opportunities arise, fulfilment is found and dreams realised. Perhaps the universe is conspiring in our favour, but much of this has to do with our own self-work, intention and mindset when creating our best lives.
“For people to adopt a healthful lifestyle, I have become convinced, they need to live in an ecosystem, so to speak, that makes it possible.” — Dan Buettner
One component of the ‘ecosystem’ that evokes a sense of pronoia is community - those that we surround ourselves with. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn proposed that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” While this may be anecdotal and relative to the law of averages, studies have shown that the people we surround ourselves with can impact our physical health and as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.
At myhaventime we often explore more individualistic themes of personal growth, reflection, lifelong learning and discovering a sense of purpose in life. But what we know is all of these things can be influenced and enriched significantly by those around us.
So in this article, we look to the importance of community and surrounding ourselves with the right people in order to enrich and grow in our personal and professional lives.
Who is on your personal board of advisors?
In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy poses the idea of gathering a personal board of advisors: the family, friends, colleagues, peers or mentors who can share their expertise, diverse opinion and knowledge to influence your own personal and professional trajectory.
James Clear, elaborating on this concept asks, ‘who are the 10-12 experts you get advice from?’ He continues, ‘I believe that you can have a keystone community, which is a small group of people who make it easier to accomplish your goals in life.’
Especially when it comes to cultivating a sense of pronoia in life, it is important that we surround ourselves with people who uplift and inspire, support, and educate. It was only recently that an old friend remarked, ‘some things drain you, other things ignite you... eliminate the things that drain you’. This sentiment can also be applied to the people we surround ourselves with.
As we explored in our article, Wellness at Every Age, our wisdom and clarity increases with age. It becomes easier to ‘edit’ our lives as we become more self-aware and assured over time, and that means prioritising the people that ignite us over those that no longer serve us.
These decisions can be difficult initially, so rather than culling people from your life, begin by gravitating towards the people you want on your ‘personal board of advisors’. Who supports your dreams and endeavours? Who sparks your creativity? Who provides sage advice?
Prioritise those who encourage you to be your best.
The good news is, when you are in a state of equilibrium, momentum and ecstatic optimism, not only does it feel as if the universe is opening doors and conspiring with you, like-minded individuals will gravitate towards you. Naturally, your personal board of advisors will expand as you grow, seek new knowledge and pursue new interests.
In order to surround ourselves with an inspiring community and cultivate our best lives, we need to examine our own existence in the first place. That means consideration of the media we consume, the people we follow, and how we connect.
Many of us fill our social media feeds and, by extension, our minds with the information, biases and unsolicited messaging propagated by the people, influencers and thought-leaders we follow.
The absorption of new information is central to lifelong learning, however it’s important to be discerning about the sources we draw from, and the people we connect with.
As Nathan W. Morris wrote, “Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It's your masterpiece after all.” The same is relevant for the people we surround ourselves with and connect with both in the physical and digital space.
Eschewing social media entirely can be difficult, however we can connect more authentically by taking some simple steps:
- Audit your social media accounts. Review the people you are following across each of these platforms. Unfollow accounts that perpetuate negative or harmful messaging, or values that are incongruent with your own. Unfollow the people, pages or organisations that no longer resonate so as to eliminate additional clutter and white noise when you plug-in to these platforms.
- Do connect with high-achievers, thought leaders or inspiring figures who share valuable or meaningful information that can enrich your own existence, pursuit of knowledge and personal and professional growth.
- Explore alternative platforms like myhaventime, Medium, Behance or LinkedIn that are designed to foster purposeful connections or sharing of useful knowledge and ideas.
We created our myhaventime teams room as a calm, secure space to connect and collaborate with a selective group of likeminded users - not just anyone and everyone. It is a place to connect authentically and work towards a shared purpose, guiding principles and collective measures of success.
myhaventime teams is not limited to professional projects - it can be used by friends, families or enthusiasts to gather ideas, collaborate and inspire each other to create their best lives and pursue their passions.
To experience a sense of pronoia in life, it’s important we live intentionally, connect authentically and surround ourselves with inspiring, uplifting people. The universe may provide, but it’s important we put in the hard work to set the wheels in motion.