– Post 3 of 12 explaining impacts from People, Culture and Technology.

– The one line summary:  Even people we’ve never met impact us. We must notice and manage them to stay on our game.


  1. Who impacted you? The influence of no interaction with people we don’t know.

It’s crazy to think about it, but individuals we have never, nor will ever, meet, impact us. This is hugely important, since it proves that we are swaying the actions of strangers in our society. This is where social influence is like quantum mechanics, which was famously called “spooky action at a distance.” Here are a few things to note while thinking about this:

  • Our friends’ friends’ friends, whether corporate executive, archeologist, or barista, are making us more like them right now. What they do, how they do it, and the decisions they make are all moving us closer to our goals or further away. One much- discussed example is that we’re 10 percent more likely to be obese if our friends’ friends’ friends are. We’re 25 percent more likely if it’s our friends’ friends and a whopping 45 percent if it’s our closest link, those culprits we call friends.97 As Nicholas Christakis tells us, “It’s only when you get to your friend’s friend’s friend’s friends that there’s no longer a relationship between that person’s body size and your own body size.” This goes for becoming rich or poor, staying married, smoking, drinking, voting, grades, altruism and happiness, among many other socially contagious emotions, behaviors, and conditions.
  • It goes both ways! We are becoming more like them, and they are becoming more like us. That smile we give a stranger on the train, our decision to stare at our phone in the elevator, and 􏰀  It goes both ways! We are becoming more like them, and they are becoming more like us. That smile we give a stranger on the train, our decision to stare at our phone in the elevator, and the pace of our stride all impact those around us. We can share positivity or concern, high regard for others or indifference, energy or lethargy, busyness or availability. All are contagious. All flow three degrees of separation deep, to our friends’ friends’ friends. And they flow in both directions, from us and to us.

A single impact on a social network (in real life, not online) can start an avalanche. “One lonely person can destabilize an entire social network like a single thread unraveling a sweater.” 98 Here’s how it works: If you’re lonely, you transmit loneliness and are likely to weaken or cut ties with friends because of it. Now that friend has been tainted, and they pass it along. “A cascade of loneliness can cause the social network to disintegrate, impacting all those networks they are linked with.” 99 Each of us impacts the world, indeed.

All of this shows the irrefutable power of people we know, and people we don’t know, to impact whether we are On Our Game or Off. The social wiring of our brains is one of the dominant forces in our lives. Some cultures have a word for it. In Zulu, a language spoken by approximately 24 percent of the population of South Africa, the word ubuntu is used. It is defined as “I am because of you.”100 It shows how our on-game status is deeply tied to the on-game status of others.

The full set of social influences is infinite. Actions and emotions have a collective existence.101

The key question are:

  1. What types of social influences most strongly boost your focus and success? How can you experience more of them?


  1. Are the impacts you have on others what you want them to be?


Also see sister posts for the other Off-Game Impacts from People:

  1. We feel and resonate with others, whether we want to or not.
  2. You’re influencing me. We adopt others’ behaviors, emotions, motivations, and goals.
  3. This post.
  4. Primed—I’m about to behave in a preplanned way, and I have no idea that it’s happening.

For a more thorough description, go to OnYourGame.Today.

Also see posts about how Culture and Technology can work to bump us of off our game.


As always, be in touch. We love to hear about your successes!

Send in game boards, stories or questions. Go to: OnYourGame.Today/Contact