You’ve probably heard the saying, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” at some point in your life.
Jim Rohn, a popular motivational speaker, coined the phrase. It sounds simple enough. You understand the phrase, but what does it really mean?
Not many people really understand how the caliber of the company they keep affects their lives and has a direct bearing on their happiness, sense of fulfillment and ability to make their dreams come true.
How many times in your life have you wanted to do something and mentioned it to a friend or relative who subsequently infiltrated it with so much negativity that you eventually ran out of energy and gave up? Or, the person pointed out so many things wrong with the idea that you became convinced you couldn’t do it or weren’t good enough to want it?
You might be the personification of positivity infused with a dose of a non-narcotic high and sprinkled with everything sugar and spice but, at the end of the day, you are greatly influenced by the people you allow to get close to you.
Their influence in your life subconsciously affects your thoughts, decision-making processes, self-esteem and ability to follow through with your plans.
Here’s a quick example. If you have a plan floating in your mind to introduce the world to the next technological innovation, would you rather hang out with people like Bill Gates and Larry Page or go drinking and bar hopping with your mates every night? I didn’t think so.
When I started on my path to launching my own business, the first thing I did was reduce my contact with the people in my life who seemed a little too comfortable with expressions like, “You can’t do it,” or, “It cannot be done.”
This might sound extreme but, honestly, not everyone you speak to cares about your success. Some people secretly hope that you fail. You’re already a bit hesitant and unsure. Do you need someone else to make it worse for you? You can do bad all by yourself!
Following the contact reduction, I sought out people who were doing the same thing, had similar dreams and who had things figured out.
I surrounded myself with these types of people and immersed myself in soaking up their experience and advice.
5 Things that Happen When You Surround Yourself with the Right People
- Your world view and perception of owning who you are meant to be is greatly affected in a positive way.
- You will reach a new level of optimism and passion for what you want to do.
- You develop a sense of purpose and drive around what you want to do with your life.
- You’re focused and motivated to make a plan and follow through with it.
- You become more goal driven.
Where do You Find These Likeminded People?
- Industry related events, mastermind classes, alumni events and professional networking get-togethers.
- A senior person in your workplace. Be careful with this. At my previous job, I had a mentor I greatly admired but I found out along the way that he was invested in my failure. Scary. Apply due diligence before taking up with someone in your current workplace as a mentor.
- Conferences and speeches. Go for the free ones and invest in a few of the paid ones if you can afford it.
- You can also connect with likeminded people online. I’m a big fan of Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington. We’ve never met, but I watch a lot of their talks online and read their books. I also follow both of them on Twitter and Facebook.
- Other online avenues include blogs, forums and industry websites.
Don’t just approach these people and turn into some kind of hero-worship-stalker though. Develop a strategy around every activity you attend.
Identify the people you want to connect with beforehand and approach them with a view to building an honest, mutually beneficial, professional relationship with them.
Connect with them on social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter, but stay away from Instagram. You aren’t friends—not yet anyway.
What Types of Likeminded People Should You Surround Yourself with?
Grab a pen and make a list of the five people you feel represent where you want to be the most in this world—people who symbolize the qualities you desire. Those are the people you want to surround yourself with. Now look for them, on and offline, and find a way to connect with them.
Sometimes, the negative people are family or are so close that you can’t really cut them off. I wouldn’t even recommend this. What I would recommend is reducing the contact level. Don’t spend so much time around them. Remember that this is about the five people you spend the most time with. Holler at them every once in a while to see how they are then keep it moving. Only cut off people you’re certain are deliberately out to make you fail.
Any meaningful relationship in your life should elevate, empower you and make you a stronger and better person.
By choosing who you spend the most time with, you have made a conscious decision to shape your future the way you want. So you will you be spending your time with?