There is a popular quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn, which says you are the average of five people that you spend the most time with! This is crude and very brutal, but it is true in equal and opposite measure. Embracing this as reality is the first step to success. The writing is clear for us all. We have to choose the people that we spend the most time with.
Of course, we need to be clear that the Rohn’s statement infers that you are one of the five people. This means that what you are still remains part of the average of five. You have to intrinsically be good and then be surrounded by great people also. Do not misinterpret this to think that provided you choose five great friends and do nothing then you will become like them! You still have to put in effort—you still have to think correctly, you still have to plan, organise, work and deliver results.
What the great friends bring to you is the correct environment where you can progress. Wrong friends will give you an environment that is not conducive to success. You have to set the right environment for you to thrive, by choosing the right people to spend most of your time with. In practice, most of us get friends ‘by accident’. We rarely think much about who to spend much time with. It ‘just’ happens! Without our considered control or thoughtful choice. We are now challenged by Rohn to seriously think about the people that we spend most time with.
The people you spend most time with determine the kind of thinking you do. Over time, you start to think more or less like the friends around you. Even the level of self-esteem you gain depends on the people around you. If they are great, successful and confident people, you will tend to have great self-esteem too. The opposite is also true for lack of this. In general, the decisions you make are also greatly influenced by the kind of people that surround you – because you think like them and you may even consult them in making certain decisions or you may simply take into account their thinking and their expectations as you make your decisions.
I tested this idea in a WhatsApp chat with a couple of friends and they supported it. Gift Esau wrote: “If you hang out with drunkards, you act like them even if you don’t drink. If you hang around with people who have no ambition, you remain like them until reality hits you hard.” He went on to share an interesting discussion he had with a CEO of a big company whose name he kept anonymous. The CEO told Gift that if he hangs around with people who just think of enjoyment and having fun, he will never acquire and accumulate assets as money will be wasted in sustaining an expensive lifestyle rather than nurturing investments. Washington Chimuzu added: “The people you associate with and the books you read now are the two key things that will determine where you will be in five years’ time.
Remember also to have within your circles people that will be telling you the truth, even the bitter truth. Do not assemble only friends that always say ‘YES’ and nice things to hear. A study by the Journal of Consumer Research showed that novices prefer positive feedback while experts want negative feedback so that they can make progress. In reality, you need both positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback boosts your confidence and self- esteem while negative feedback helps you to continuously improve and progress.
We have seen why it is important to carefully choose the right people to surround us. Now is the time for action. Sit down and check who are the people you spend most time with. Who are your best friends? You now need to ‘reshuffle’ your personal ‘cabinet’. For this one, you have the power to hire and fire as your prerogative. Be a president for once and gain control over your life. n