……Consider a 2010 study of United States Air Force Cadets in which psychologists from the National Bureau of Economic Research tracked a cohort of cadets over 4 years. The researchers found that while there was variability in fitness gains/losses across all the cadets, there was hardly any variability within squadrons. Squadrons are groups of about 30 cadets to which an individual is randomly assigned prior to his freshman year. Cadets spend the vast majority of their time interacting with peers in their squadron. In a sense, the squadron becomes a second family: Cadets in the same squadron eat, sleep, study, and work out together. Even though all the squadrons trained and recovered in exactly the same manner, some squadrons showed vast increases in fitness over 4 years whereas others did not.
It turns out the determining factor as to whether the 30 cadets within a squadron improved was the motivation of the least fit person in the group. If the least fit person was motivated to improve, then his enthusiasm spread and everyone improved. If, on the other hand, the least fit person was apathetic or, worse, negative, he dragged everyone down. Just like diseases easily spread through tight-knit groups, so does motivation. And it’s quite contagious…..
More here – Medium