I recently had a conversation with a head coach at Fredonia whose teams regularly produce one of the highest GPA’s in the athletic department. Last semester it was again the highest, and I asked what he attributes it to.
He said that when a freshman enters his program, she hears about how high her teammates’ GPA’s are. She’s told stories of how many times the team has won the athletic department’s academic award. Then she looks around and thinks, “boy, I’d better step my game up.”
When everyone you spend time with is performing at a high level, you can’t help but keep up.
The author Seth Godin frequently tells the story of the 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels, an international meeting of the most distinguished physicists in the world. Albert Einstein was there, along with Niels Bohr and Marie Curie. In total, 17 of the 29 attendees became Nobel Prize winners, but most didn’t do so until after the conference. They weren’t invited to the conference because they were Nobel Prize winners, they were Nobel Prize winners because they were invited to the conference. Everyone looked around and thought, “boy, I’d better step my game up.”
Again and again, the maxim rings true — you are the average of the people you most associate with.