I can remember as a young man this one friend who I had so much fun with (some times so much fun that we got into trouble together), whom my parents forbid me to see. Of course like all children trying to understand, I wanted to know why. The answer would become rather prophetic for me in my life as an adult.
I was told that I could not associate with him because he was the kind of boy who got into trouble, and if I hung out with him, I would probably wind up in trouble as well. I didn’t understand as a young man the importance of this message.
As I got a little older, I found myself associating with the kinds of people my parents had warned me about, and within a few years, my life was spiraling out of control to a point where I was nearing self-destruction. I knew I had to make a change, and I tried several times to move my life back in a positive direction.
It was then, that I remembered the lesson of association my parents had tried in vain to impart to me when I was younger. I had to change the peer group I was associating with in order to create the kind of change I knew I needed to make in my life.
So what does this have to do with developing your full potential and living the life of your dreams? Well, there is this idea I first heard about from Jim Rohn.
YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH. ~JIM RHON
I was trying to move my life in a new direction, while continuing to associate with the same people. Quite simply, this cannot be done.
Let me offer an example. Let’s say that you run around with a group of people who do casual drugs on a regular basis. The odds are, that you too will engage in casual drug use. If you want to quit using drugs casually, it will be very difficult if you continue to hang out with people who still do.
If I associate with bad people, I’ll probably end up getting into bad things as well. I mean, if I’m an upstanding person of great integrity, I wouldn’t associate with people drastically different from me, because I have little in common with them.
But this works in reverse as well. If I want to make change in my life, say to be a more motivated person, to increase my income or net worth, or to eat healthier, work out more and live a healthy lifestyle, I can accelerate my progress by associating with people who are already in that peer group.
What Jim Rohn states in his quote, is that your life will mirror on average the lives of your five closest friends. Your income. your lifestyle, work, family etc., will be about the average of your five closest friends.
If your closest friends are fanatical about running marathons, you probably will be interested in running too. If all of your closest friends are corporate workers, climbing the corporate ladder, that’s probably the path you will be on as well.
Choose your friends wisely, as they can either be a drag on your life, or boosters which accelerate your progress.
So, I have come up with this idea I like to call the mosaic theory of personality. In many ways this is just an extension of Mr. Rohn’s idea about your life reflecting your five closest friends.
Every one of us is influenced in small ways by the people and mediums we find value in. These can be people, TV shows, radio programs or organizations. Over time, you integrate little mannerisms, sayings and ways of looking at things into your behaviors, and they become little pieces of who you are. They become little tiles in the personality of the mosaic that is you.
My theory then, is that each of us are, as a person, little small pieces of the people and things that influence us over time. These can add to, or take away from you. You get to choose.
LET ME LOOK AT YOUR FRIENDS AND I’LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE… ~ANONYMOUS
Some people allow this process to happen by default, rather than with intention. If you are looking to create positive change in your life, you must act intentionally. You must choose carefully those things that influence you, and it is a choice.
When we put these two ideas together, we get a picture that our life will, in many ways be the mean of those we are closest to and that those people we admire influence us in small ways.
If you want to create change, and move your life in a different direction, then you need to associate with people who are already living the change you want to see in your life.
“PEOPLE ARE LIKE DIRT. THEY CAN EITHER NOURISH YOU AND HELP YOU GROW AS A PERSON OR THEY CAN STUNT YOUR GROWTH AND MAKE YOU WILT AND DIE.” ~PLATO
Resolve that from this day forward, you will associate with people who motivate, inspire and bring out the best in you.
So how do you get started?
Here are five ways you can find, network and build relationships that will nourish and encourage you:
- Start locally by joining a gym, the chamber of commerce, the Junior League or many other great organizations where you can network with people who are aligned with the lifestyle changes you want to make.
- Next, go online and begin with the largest social platform on the planet. Facebook. Do a search for groups that fit with the interest you’re pursuing and get connected with people who are supporting each other. I am plugged into several mastermind groups on facebook and the information and support I get there are invaluable.
- Visit sites like tribe.net and meetup.com which are great places to find people who are like minded, no matter what your interest are.
- Forums and blogs that are in your area of interest. If you want to connect with people who motivate and inspire you to create change in your life, there are lots of blogs to help you do just that (hopefully this is one on your list :). Just jump into the conversation and make some new friends along the way.
- Start your own blog. By starting your own blog and publishing your own content, you will build an audience, and have a remarkable opportunity to network with like-minded people. You can do this for free on platforms like blogger.com, or very low cost sites like squarespace.com.
So what do your five closest friends say about you?