Plain Talk – You’re the average of your surroundings

By Nana Alfred

Recently I sat down with a new friend I met. We talked about what it takes to achieve the goals you want to achieve in life.

My friend is already a very accomplished marketing professional. And yet, there was a lot more she wanted to do. One conclusion I kept coming back to in this talk is that a large amount of how successful you will be in life comes down to the people you spend time with.

This is why: ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Jim Rohn

This quote is one of the most powerful ones that I keep reminding myself over and over again. I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with. Others around myself determine how I think, how I act, and ultimately how successful I will be.

In short: You’ll face many struggles along the way if you are seeking success and happiness. This advice is simple, yet difficult to apply in real life. We so often get caught up in social circles, workplace politics, and societal obligations that it’s hard to determine sometimes if we even truly like the people we spend time with. Even worse is those people may be suppressing our best, or drawing out our worst.

The only way you can make sure that you will fight your way through this hardship is with the right people by your side.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, which skills you have, where you are born, or which family you came from. All that counts if you want to be successful in life is the people you surround yourself with.

It’s a notion so simple, yet so difficult. Don’t be afraid to lose some friends, support from your family, or anything else if that means you start surrounding yourself with the right people. Instead of becoming the average of some average people, dip with the best.

I believe I’m someone who took longer than most people to understand this concept. I clung onto relationships with people far too long. All of them were great people, people I respect like I want to respect every other human being. Yet, I always knew these are not the people that are dying to be incredibly successful, incredibly happy, and doing no matter what it takes to chase their dreams.

Think about the things that uplift you as a person, the qualities that push you to be better, and seek those things out in others. Surround yourself with living catalysts who will push you to be the absolute greatest version of yourself. Every moment you spend with someone holding you back is a moment forever lost.

The quality of your life and the quality of your work is determined by the standards you have for yourself, and the standards of those around you. If you’re fine doing mediocre work, than those around you are as well.

If you’re feeling stuck and struggling to make the progress you want, take a look around you. Most people adapt to whatever environment they find themselves.

Show me focus and determination and I’ll show you how I’ll constantly be blown away. I’ll cling onto your enthusiasm, try to learn from your skillset as much as I can and get myself lifted onto the next level purely by being in the same room with you.

There is no one else I spend as much time with as my close circle. 90 percent of my daily interaction happens with those people. The power they have is therefore incredible. I’m highly influenced and seek to be from them and their input. I know, because of their actions, experience, and daily work, the only impact this can have on me is a positive one. It is pushing me higher and onto the next level every day.

I’m the average of my amazing best friends.

Whether you want it or not, I believe this is how it works. The people you spend the most time with make you. You are their average.

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