Self Confidence and Social Networks

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident, you need to do three things: 1) become an optimist; 2) face your fears and act; and 3) surround yourself with positive people. 

Last week, I saw an Associated Press article by Maria Cheng that highlighted the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people.  A study recently released by Nicholas Christakis, a Harvard professor, and James Fowler of the University of California at San Diego found that, “happy people tended to be at the center of social networks (the old fashion kind, face to face and real time) and had many friends who were also happy.” 

The authors of the study estimate “that each happy friend boosts your own chances of being happy by nine percent.”  On the other hand, each grumpy friend decreases your happiness by seven percent.

There is a secondary benefit of happiness.  When you are happy, you produce fewer stress hormones which has a positive effect on your immune system. 

Professors Christakis and Fowler have done similar studies that show that negative habits like obesity and smoking are also spread socially. 

What does all of this have to do with self confidence?  Plenty, to my way of thinking.  While I can offer no empirical evidence, it stands to reason that both a positive and negative outlook on life are spread socially. 

When you surround yourself with positive, self confident people, you are more likely to become positive and self confident yourself.  Positive people are contagious in a good way.  When you surround yourself with negative, self doubting people, you are more likely to become negative and self doubting.  Negative people are also contagious – but in a bad way.

As I’ve said, I can’t prove any of this statistically, but to me it’s just common sense.  Positive, self confident people breed a positive, self confident attitude in the people around them.  Negative people breed a negative attitude in the people around them.  Besides that, positive people are just more fun to be around.

The study that I mentioned at the beginning of this post did not focus on online social networks.  However, it is my experience that an online network of positive, self confident people will have similar benefits to a real life face to face network of positive, self confident people.  That’s why I belong to a variety of internet social networking groups.  I have many people whom I have never met who have helped build my self confidence.

The common sense point here is simple.  The people with whom you spend your time have a lot to do with your outlook on life.  Want to be happy?  Hang around with happy people.  Want to be positive?  Hang around with positive people.  Want to be self confident?  Hang around with self confident people.  Self confidence is the foundation of personal and professional success.  You can become more self confident by actively seeking out and befriending self confident people.  When you do this, you’ll be building a powerful, real life network that can help you succeed in your life and career.

That’s my take on the power of positive people and self confidence.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your experiences with social networks – real time or online – of positive people.  I really appreciate all of your comments.  As always, you have my humble thanks for taking the time to read this post.


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