(Excerpt from my book: The Path Less Travelled. Can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Path-Less-Travelled-Reflections-Learning/dp/1540663507/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494697301&sr=1-1&keywords=samuel+okonkwo)
You may think you have the will power and discipline to rise above the influence of your friends. You don’t. If you spend time with people who are in shape, you’ll be in shape. If you spend time with lazy people, you’ll be lazy. We all want to belong to a group and we do so by appearing similar to the group we want to belong to. Choose wisely who you spend your time with because it’s who you’ll become.
One conclusion I have come to today 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 me determine how I think, how I act and ultimately how successful I will be. It is a huge determinant that is often undermined.
Whether you want it or not, this is how it works I believe. The people you spend the most time with make you. You are their average. Do you think that’s true? Who are you spending time with? Are they the people that you want to be the average of? Choose someone whose way of life as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Be always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. There is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make crooked straight. Friends make us, friends break us; friends destroy, friends define. The good thing is that unlike the choice of family which is entrusted to us without our consent, friendship is solely up to us.
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 will give the closing words on this to Frank E, who shared his personal story: ‘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. Today, the people I spend time with are just 2 people. Joel and Tom. They are most likely the smartest people I have ever worked with before. Both have a focus and determination I’m constantly blown away by. I cling onto their enthusiasm, try to learn from their skillset as much as I can and get myself lifted onto the next level: purely by being in the same room with them whilst working away on buffer. There is no one else I spend as much time with, as Joel and Tom. That’s it, 90% of my daily interaction happens with these two guys. 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.’