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You Are The Average Of…For The Digital Age—Taking Control Of Your Circle of Influence

Your circle of influence has grown—How to take back control

Back in the early 1900s when the OG himself Dale Carnegie wrote about how to achieve success in life in How To Win Friends and Influence People,an individual’s possible circle of influence was extremely limited. Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have social media…or a TV that had a remote…or more than seven channels on said TV…until I was into double-digits. Facebook wasn’t even a thing until I was two years out of college.

Wow. That kind of hurts to put into words. 

About Jason Robinson // The Nomad Experiment

Having not seen his 3rd country until age 40, then diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 42, Jason encourages and empowers others with a fear of travel, or of traveling with major medical conditions, to push through and live an unconventional life.
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The saying was that you were the average of the 5 people you were around the most.

Now it’s more like you are the average of the 5-10 people…or channels…or media you are around the most.

Because our circle of influence has expanded through social media, apps, and “traditional” media, I’m afraid a lot of people don’t catalog regularly how much time they spend “with” certain people or media sources. 

I think a lot of people have gotten a little complacent about their circle of influence. They’re not spending enough time and energy paying attention to it on a regular basis. 

Not you. Not me. Those other people…amiright?

To be more specific, we can no longer fool ourselves into believing that our biggest influences are physical beings in front of us. The reach has expanded.

If you spend 10 hours a week watching the news but only 5 hours a week talking to or hanging out with your best friend, well, that news show is imprinting more than your best friend. Listen to a political or comedy radio station regularly? Yep, same deal. 

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How to be proactive and take stock of your circle of influences

Make sure you regularly assess and correct, if needed, any of the following areas where you may be spending your time absorbing positive or negative vibes. While you’re at it, consider changing the channel to something that gives you more travel inspiration! 

Family

What’s the saying? You can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family? Well, I guess there’s some truth to that, but you can choose how much and how often certain family members add to or detract from your life. 

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Friends

Have “friends” in your life that you only tend to hang out with when you don’t have better plans?

End up feeling like you need a warm shower to scrub off the negativity when you’re done hanging out with these “friends?”

At some point, you’ll need to address whether that’s a good use of your extra time or whether you should cut strings with some of these people and redirect your precious time somewhere else.

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Work

Some would say that it’s almost impossible to change who you work with or the fact that you have to be around them. Well, I’m not having that. Life is long.

Some studies show that the typical adult will hold more than 10 different jobs by age 40 and more than 15 over the course of their lifetime.

If it ain’t working, actively work to change it. I could even argue that a small pay cut or a less-than-perfect position is worth it to surround yourself with positive vibes and room or opportunity for growth.

While you’re at it, make sure your next job allows you to work remotely! 

Volunteering

Yep, if you spend a lot of time volunteering you’re likely soaking up some good juju on the regular. Props to you my friend. More of this please! Just keep in mind that some places you volunteer can still be very draining or have management that makes the sacrifice on your part borderline toxic.

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You can always choose to find other places to volunteer so that things are optimal and beneficial both ways, regardless of your long history with a certain organization.

The Gym

Maybe yours is all body-positivity and inspiration-laden, but I know plenty where negativity and self-deprecation is the “motivation” used to get results. If the latter kind of gym is where you’re spending your time, maybe rethink that membership. 

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Books

The old standby, so it cannot be overlooked. Good old, analog, snail’s pace reading, whether on paper or a screen reader.

Slowing down is necessary in this fast-paced world—just pay attention to what and how much you’re consuming, and whether the perspective is balanced.

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It’s getting harder and harder to consume authored works that aren’t heavily slanted towards one political direction or another, or overly positive or negative. Be aware of the root of the messaging and try to balance your intake, thus keeping your ability to absorb and constructively argue contrasting views…like a grown ass-adult should.

Shameless plug time…

The beginner traveler's guide to going nomad book by Jason A. Robinson

Tough Love, Tips & Strategies To Help You Finally Kick-Start Your Travel Life…Or Go Full Nomad!

Been wondering how the hell all those digital nomads, location independent travelers, and remote workers, travel “full-time?” Maybe you’ve thought about living that life one day, but you’re really not sure where to start.

Beyond giving you the stepping stones to dive into short-term domestic and international travel, this book will show you how long-term travelers extend those tools, maximize their budgets, and turn weeks into months…or even years…of traveling the world indefinitely.

Newspapers, Magazines, and News

The reality of most of these sources is that they’re “owned” by someone or some kind of corporate machine with very specific intentions and influences. Yes, even more than the book authors mentioned above. Those influences tend to affect the slant in which the information is delivered. Again, pay attention and attempt to only consume channels that are as balanced or unbiased as possible.

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Audiobooks

I listen when I drive, walk or hike. That’s typically anywhere from 5-15+ hours per week. That author I listen to for 10 hours is probably spending more time influencing me than anyone in my family this week.

I use free sources/apps like Hoopla, Libby, or Cloud Library, which connect your library card and have a virtual library of books you can “check out” on multiple devices. Or you can pay for a streaming audio service like this one for even more options.

be encourageous article the nomad experiment jason robinson
Read more here…

Podcasts

Endless possibilities. If you so choose, Brene Brown, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, and so many more will drop up-to-the-minute knowledge, inspiration, and motivation on the regular for your feasting ears. I also have friends that consume raunchy comedy for hours on end via podcasts.

To each their own, but I’ll take content that lights my brain on fire. Plenty of travel-centric options too!

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location indie friends together in a photo
Location Indie friends together in a photo – these people inspire me!

The Location Indie Podcast, Zero To Travel, and Extra Pack Of Peanuts are literally three of the most influential podcasts I’ve ever listened to and played heavily into my getting over my travel anxiety and finally going nomadic!

Streaming Services

The “boob tube” is now on-demand and endless. Instead of subscribing to another $5-10/month brain suck, maybe choose something a little more enlightening and feast on documentaries or more educational content. There are tons of interesting channels out there from National Geographic to Curiosity Stream to Skillshare and all things in between. 

YouTube, Tiktok, Instagram and the Interwebs

These are all great places to absorb, just be careful not to get sucked down the dum-dum content rabbit hole! Subscribe to a few positive channels (I hear The Nomad Experiment has some merit) and your suggestions list will remain full of good homework. You can also start switching to documentary/self-help-styled free resources like TED Talks, which have a nearly endless library of content.

All of these sources have algorithms!

Be careful to make sure you’re getting positive yet varied messages instead of allowing yourself to be in a vacuum of the same ideas and ideologies!

Virtual Communities

“Groups” within social media platforms can fill a lot of your time. I suggest retooling your group list with more travel-conscious conversations. I can’t state enough how the Location Indie community I joined back at the beginning of my journey helped me find the confidence to travel! 

Tapas dinner at We Love F. Tourists Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal
One of my favorite hostel memories. Holiday dinner at We Love F. Tourists Hostel in Lisbon.

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That Voice in Your Head

Yep. I just went all meta on your ass. That little voice in your head…or let’s be honest…voices…are something you literally can’t get away from. But by maintaining positive external prompts you canhelp to control some of the negativity of your internal dialogue or the impact of memories.

And if there is some serious overwhelm when it comes to those voices, I suggest talking to a professional. 

I’ve actively pursued a therapist to help me through some tough spots in life. I highly recommend it. The fact is that neither you nor any of your family or friends are ever going to be without some underlying bias. A professional is there to give you analytical and science/study-based guidance, without bias, to help you achieve better outcomes. 

If you think “seeing a Shrink” is something negative, get over that shit. It’s another one of those ill-founded societal opinions that you no longer need to subscribe to my friend.

Oh, and please don’t refer to it as “seeing a Shrink.” Shrinks hate that.

The Beginner Traveler's Guide Nomad book Spread and cover
Check out the book here…

Exercise… A Little Less Of This And A Little More Of That

OK. Want to take this to the next level and take action to improve the people and channels making up your circle of influence? Grab a piece of paper and make two lists like the ones below.

Exercise for personal development and circle of influence
The book is full of exercises like this one!

In the left columns, list a few areas that you know you need to make some adjustments in based on the categories from this article.

In the right columns, jot in some notes or steps on how you’re going to make those adjustments in your life—then make those adjustments!

Go take action my friend!

BTW—if you’ve made it this far…good on ya! This article is literally taken from a chapter of The Beginner Traveler’s Guide To Going Nomad. Learn more here!

Cheers.
—Jason

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

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