“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn
I was very irritable, had little tolerance and was getting frustrated very easily. My meditation was not as smooth as usual, and I was struggling to recall any of my dreams.
This had been going on for a few days, and I didn’t know why.
Then it hit me. I had been spending a lot of time with an old-time friend who was staying with me for a while. He was negative, cynical and sapped all my good energy.
His attitude had slowly permeated my being and had triggered remnants of my old cynical self, and that didn’t bode well with my new being, hence the frustration and irritability.
As social creatures, we tend to adopt the characteristics of the groups we are part of and start to behave in the same way. We influence and get influenced by the people we spend the most time with, and we pick up both good and bad behaviours from each other.
“If you are a human, then the biggest influence on your personality is your peer group. Choose your peers. If you want to be better at math, surround yourself with mathematicians. If you want to be more productive, hang out with productive people…” ~ Mudos Ponens
Quantum physics says we are made up of energy, and when we collide with another body of energy that is in sync then the result is constructive but when an we collide with another that is not in sync then the opposite happens, and results are usually destructive.
I have found that the below five kinds of people are the ones I would like to surround myself with:
1) The Relentless Over-Achiever
It’s good to be around this kind of person, as they are always upping the ante and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. They are constantly asking questions and are never satisfied.
They are not motivated by doing good and helping us, but only by pushing themselves, and as such their hunger and relentlessness is contagious and they will end up pushing us hard.
I used to be an average tennis player when I was 12, until I met Brad, who was relentless and would keep pushing his limits. I was his practice partner in summer camp, and his enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I came back after the summer a much better player and managed to reach the final of our school’s tournament.
2) The Natural-Born Optimist
These are the ones who are always smiling, happy and often drive us nuts by the simplicity of the way they look at things (to them, everything has a silver lining). They celebrate small wins like winning the lottery and quietly dismiss the negative things out of their lives.
They are often a breath of fresh air, and being around them just lifts all the gloom and doom that our minds are busy creating. They brush off disasters quickly and readjust their lives, without much fuss, with an attitude that is pure gold.
I was overwhelmed with work and missed targets, feeling as if it was the end of the world, and I happened to bump into a good friend of mine, Gina.
Her smile alone lifted my spirits, and as we had coffee, I told her about my problems and she laughed at me—not to mock me but in a natural way, showing me that my problems were nothing to cry about. It wasn’t her words that changed my attitude, but her whole energy. I left forgetting my problems and remembering her smile.
3) The Unconditional Giver of Love
These would typically include family and close friends. They offer us unconditional love similar to that of a mother’s, allowing us to be ourselves all the time. They tap into and constantly fill our tanks of self-esteem.
They don’t necessarily push us or get us out of our comfort zone, but they are always there and offer pure, unadulterated love. And life has shown me that we can’t be or do anything when we are lacking love.
The love I’m talking about is what Forrest Gump would show to “his girl,” Jenny, time and time again. He didn’t care that she didn’t love him, and was always there for her. He didn’t judge her or try to change her and only wanted the best for her, even though that meant he wasn’t included for most of her life.
4) Virtual Teachers
These are people who become our teachers and heroes through books, blogs, movies, podcasts and stories. They offer us great wisdom and knowledge that helps us grow, and widen our horizons as we see and feel their different experiences.
For me, they are as real as the real people in our lives. I have spent hours and days reading Hemingway’s larger-than-life escapades; coupled with his dedication to writing, he has inspired me to get into action and enjoy life’s experiences more than many people I see every day.
The teachings of the Buddha, the Bhagavad Gita, Herman Hesse’s Siddartha and Leo Tolstoy’s Ivan Illich have also had a profound effect on me, and were the reason I managed to crawl slowly out of my ordinary life.
5) Our Higher Self
There is no greater feeling than that of connecting with our higher self. It’s that feeling of total inner peace and tranquility that can’t be matched in the outside world.
Solitude and spending time alone give us a chance to get to know our higher self much better. It’s often difficult in our world of fast and furious to be alone and to be able to connect, but if we want to up the average, then our higher self must be one of the five people.
Using meditation, writing and mindful moments like watching a sunset, I connect well with my higher self, even if fleetingly. However, the insights that I gain and the peace that I reach stays with me long enough to guide my lower self to its rightful path.
I don’t think we are exactly the average of the five people we spend time with, but we need to be aware and understand how different kinds of people can affect us. We must remain proactive in surrounding ourselves with the right people.
And that also includes people we must avoid, like friends or family who have become toxic by constantly bringing us down through nagging, putting us down and taking so much out of us.
Author: Mo Issa
Editor: Toby Israel