“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
– Jim Rohn
To live a great life, you must keep great company.
You can fall into one of two categories:
- You are either surrounded by people who enable your fixed mindset or
- People who provide you with a growth environment.
Carol Dweck, Ph.D., world-renowned Stanford University psychologist and author of bestseller “Mindset: How we can lean to fulfill our potential” explains a fixed mindset in the following way:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
If you are surrounded by people with a fixed mindset, this article is going to be a tough pill to swallow because you have to make the necessary changes to surround yourself with people who want to succeed in life as bad as you do. This logic is backed by the law of association.
The Law of Association is the concept that like-minded people are attracted to one another. You become the average of the five closest people in your life. Think about that. Who are the five closest people in your life? Can you say for sure that all five of them are making you the person you want to be? Are they bringing you up or pulling you down?
Since you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with (which is scientifically backed through neuronal mirroring), if you associate with negative, belittling people, you will eventually start to think like them. Failures and negative people are like quicksand, they will do whatever it takes to pull you down with them. It is sad and hard to admit, but not all of your friends want to see you be successful. The more you succeed, the more they feel inferior.
To be great, you must keep great company. Steel sharpens steel.
One of the surest ways to break down your limiting beliefs in life and become the successful person you want to become is to simply surround yourself with successful people who do not have limiting beliefs. But this new circle won’t just come now that you are aware of it. You must actively search out great people and make an effort to keep them close to you.
One of the biggest blame shifts regarding this practice is, “I don’t know anybody great.” Or, “Well, no one great would want to associate with me.” Those are both terrible limiting beliefs. There is without a doubt someone great in or near your circle – you just have to go find them. And regarding “I’m not good enough,” if you think you are not good enough for someone to talk to, realize that that doesn’t matter. Talk to them anyway. That is the point of being around people you look up to. The more you associate with people that are way out of your league, the more you will learn and eventually become like them.
Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest businessmen and biggest philanthropists of all time, started out working as a factory laborer at age 13. He knew about the law of association and intentionally hung around his boss, whom he looked up to. He asked him questions and performed random tasks for him. Through this relationship, he was introduced to other businessmen in town and found another job as a telegraph messenger. While delivering messages around town, he made a deliberate effort to remember all of the most important men’s names and build relationships with all of them. This led to more goodwill and Carnegie moving up the chain until he became the wealthiest man in the world at his time. From factory worker making $1.20 a week to one of the wealthiest men in history.
Actions to start associating with people that will build you up and support the life you want:
- Take inventory of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Label them positive or negative (be honest with yourself) Do these people elevate your thinking or life?
- What do the 5 closest people (from above) think about your passions and aspirations? Are they supportive? Are they negative?
- Write a list of people you look up to. Reach out and offer to buy them coffee to pick their brain (or jump on a 15 minute phone call if they aren’t local)
- Join groups and communities that will cultivate a growth mindset (One of my favorites I am a member of is Junto Global)
If you are looking to be more intentional about who you associate with, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally help you with this change. I am consistently pairing people with mastermind communities that work best for them. My passion is empowering people to live their best life and this is one of the biggest ways to do that.
It may be the toughest thing you do, but by removing the negative people and intentionally being around positive, growth-minded individuals, you will transform your life faster and more powerfully than you could ever imagine. Knowing that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and being serious about it, is the difference between a life of negativity and let downs and the elevated life of happiness and fulfillment. It’s in your control.
Want to be more intentional about who you associate with?
Email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to help!