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January 26, 2021

The Social Multiplier Effect

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Let’s explore an interesting phenomenon called the "Social Multiplier Effect". Proposed by Jim Flynn, the social multiplier effect explains why groups of people sometimes produce results that are outside the average of the general population. This is true both on the positive and negative side of outcomes, but there is one common factor in both cases - Environment.

Essentially the social multiplier effect describes how your environment (in the case of "social environment" and the people around you) affects the way you relate to certain topics. In “Atomic Habits” James Clear talks about how one of the most effective things you can do to change your behavior is to surround yourself with people where the desired behavior is the normal behavior. This creates a subtle, influential force that pulls you toward the norm.

This relates to your personal development and self growth in two ways. First, you can be intentional about who you surround yourself with and make sure that your social environment is conducive to the progress you hope to make. Second, is you can be the epicenter of impact, and create positive ripples for others in the way you behave. This will attract people who share the same values, and it will close the feedback loop for you so that you validate the behavior and energy you put out.

While Jim Flynn’s original work proved this theory by testing people’s IQs and relating it to the IQs of those around them, this thought applies much further than that and is something you can leverage in your life.

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