There is a famous quote by Jim Rohn, motivational speaker. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
This isn’t a revelation to anyone, really. But it forces us to observe. Who am I? Why? What do I want, and how can I get there? Will those around me help or hinder that journey?
Clearly he is making a point, that your surroundings and your immediate peers are the most influential on you, and you on them. Perhaps he means for us to examine that small group, and to evaluate whether they are a benefit to us. In twelve step programs, there is a strong push for participants to change their friends if their friends are not fully supportive of their sobriety.
I’ve considered this question for myself. Who am I? Do I seem at all like those closest to me? Who would I be, if I considered the average of this group?
My fiancé. She is a caring, loving woman. She is determined, and organized and as persistent as anyone I have ever known. When she decides what she is going to do, it gets done. She cannot give a partial effort. She does not accept mediocrity in herself, and towards others she is caring and nurturing and supportive. She wants to help, to add to the overall good in the world, to show others their potential.
My daughters. Yes, technically they are two very separate and very different people, but for this exercise, I consider them one. They are children, and they see everything through innocent eyes, with no notion of “can’t”. Everything is possible. Love is everywhere. Do you remember, even a little bit, what it felt like to behold the wonder of the world, of the universe, and to believe that you could do anything? They live in that place! Nothing is so extraordinary that it is unachievable to them.
My friend David. David sweats the details. He has never started a project that he wasn’t 99% sure of the outcome. If there is a spreadsheet, he’ll write it. If there is an analysis, he’ll craft it. There is no amount of data that is sufficient to satisfy his hunger for information, and if it doesn’t exist, he creates it. His “Big Picture” is really, really big.
My friend Matt. Matt is the great connector. He understands, possibly without conscious acknowledgement, that the surest way to improve your life is to improve the lives of those around you. He fills his days with favors done, and when he receives one in return, he finds a way, automatically, to pass it to someone that needs it. He is unselfish and would give his last dollar to a stranger if it would help them out of a jam. He’s done it. I’ve seen it and been the beneficiary of his generosity.
My employee Will. Will epitomizes hard work. Will believes, and proves true, the axiom that there is nothing that hard work can’t fix. His effort is inexhaustable. His drive is unstoppable. Everything he learns, he shares. He always has time to help someone else solve a problem. To help someone else make themselves better. He is an endless source of advice and is self deprecating in the best possible way. He is tenacious.
At the end of his podcasts, Tim Ferriss frequently asks his guests “When you think of success, who is the first person that comes to mind?” Inevitably, the guest has a list, and qualifies it. Financial? One answer. Personal? Another. If we take it a step further, and really consider the factors that make each of them “successful” can we then aspire to those qualities? Why is Bill Gates a billionaire? Why is Bill Gates able to be the most prolific philanthropist the world has ever seen? Why is my mother so happy? When did that happen? Why? What did she do? Why do all the kids AND all the teachers at my daughters school love Mr. Smith, the Computer and Math teacher? What has he done that he is so universally liked? Why does Tony Robbins sell out every event he hosts? Why is he practically a deity in modern self-improvement?
Who do you want to be? How are you going to get there? Who will help you? Will you take action?
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