Are you truly the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? Today we are digging into this topic. It’s so juicy! It can create so much confusion as to what it means and how to break it down. Recently on a Vibe Tribe call we discussed this topic. One of the girls actually asked me, “Is this true? Or are you in control of your thoughts?”
They kind of contradict themselves if you think of it. Are you pulled into the energy of the people you surround yourself with and do you become one with them or are you in control of your thoughts and energy no matter where you are?
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Both are True
It’s a tricky answer, because both are true. If you are not cognizant of your energy and thoughts it is easy to slip into the energy of other people, however you always can control it. It can get exhausting if you are forever surrounding yourself with people that drain you. I have a different approach and answer than what I’ve heard other people give.
In professional situations we often here, play up. You want to hang out with people who are more advanced than you so you are forever being stretched to grow. If your kids are in sports, it’s easy to put them in the leagues with the same age and skill. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience where you go into a league where people are better. At first it is terrifying. You didn’t feel like your skill was up to par, but if you’re really passionate and you want to improve, you will improve and rise up to their level.
That’s the idea of playing up and surrounding yourself with people who are more advanced than you. It also has the advantage of introducing you to what is possible. By stretching your comfort zone and seeing other people accomplishing things that you have not accomplished just yet shows you how possible and realistic it really is. So it opens your horizons, it helps you to create that evidence and proof we are always talking about on this show.
How do you break limiting beliefs? You have to give your mind some evidence and prove that it is a lie and more is possible. So if you’re hanging out with people who are at your level or below your level, it is easy to adopt the mindset that you are doing all you can and anything more is not possible. When you are surrounding yourself with people who are doing the “impossible” you are forced to challenge that belief. Ok, so hang out with people who are a little bit ahead of me.
The Law of Averages
We could be talking about any category under the sun – mentally, people who are more positive; spiritually, people who are more advanced spiritually; money, people who have more money; business or career, people who are more advanced or professional; marriage, people who have a better marriage than you. You can apply this concept of averages to anyone and any subject.
I want to warn you that this law of averages can get you into trouble. It can cause you to irrationally believe that the people in your life, if they’re not 2 steps ahead of you, are actually holding you back. I want to stop right now and say not true. How many people do you know right now – whether you know them, you are one of them or you have seen them on tv – that came from poverty or adversity and rose to the top? It wasn’t because they surrounded themselves with people ahead of them. People like Jim Carrey, Sylvester Stallone or Oprah. They didn’t surround themselves at a young age with people that were famous or rich. They didn’t have that option. They rose to the top because they had a positive mindset, because they believed in themselves, because they refused to absorb the negativity of the environment around them.
You can do that too. Your thoughts are power. They matter more than anything else – more than anything in your environment and more than anybody you surround yourself with. It’s just a matter of exercising that mindset muscle and staying focused.
If you are surrounded by people who are a little behind in whatever area of your life you’re trying to improve, don’t fret. It is not the end of the world. You can still rise to the top. You can still overcome any challenge in your life. You have that power already within you. You don’t have to change your environment or the people in your life, unless, of course you want to, because that’s your choice.
Now that we’ve talked about people ahead of you and people behind you, now you have the 3rd group – people that are on the same level as you. People that are helping you to feel safe. People who are right where you are and they make great collaborators and people you can brainstorm with. They’re people that are just comfortable. They’re not dragging you down and not encouraging you to come up to their level. They’re just right where you are. There is a comfort and safety in that.
I have a firm belief that we need people in our lives that are in every level – people that are 1 or 2 steps behind, people that are where we’re at and people that are 1 or 2 steps ahead of us. Imagine that’s the case for you. So if we’re going to take the law of averages and average out the people that are behind, here and above. Then we become the average. We are right in the middle. That’s where we want to be.
If you are right in the middle, then you are exactly where you should be. Here’s why.
People Ahead of You
People above you are going to teach you. They are going to show you what’s possible. They are going to share their knowledge with you. You are going to expand and grow in ways that you might not be able to without their assistance. Maybe they’re not 10 steps ahead of you but maybe just 1 is enough in whatever area you are trying to expand. It’s good to have a few of those people in your life to turn to and look to for advice.
If you’re struggling with your marriage, you’re not going to ask all of your divorced friend for advice. You’re going to ask somebody with a very strong relationship and have been married for years, seem happy and figured it out after going through trials. Same with money, mindset, business and everything else.You want it aks the people that are doing well and have a good track record. You want some people in every area in your life who are ahead of you.
Too much can hinder your mindset and emotional growth. If you put yourself in that situation and those are the only people you’re hanging out with,it can be very easy to lose yourself and start to feel inadequate and start to feel like you’re not doing enough. Effort to keep up and do more can leave you feeling exhausted. This also pulls you out of the present. When you’re around strictly people who are more advanced than you, you’re always mentally going into the future to see what’s possible. When you’re mentally always in the future, you are not mentally in the present. You’re hustling and pushing for what is going to come tomorrow. You become out of balance. We want to make sure you are balanced in life. Too many advanced people? Probably not a good thing.
People Behind You
Now let’s talk about people who are a little behind you. There’s always the fear that you are the sum of the 5 people, don’t hang out with people that hold you back and bring you down. Yes and no. It’s all in how you look at that.
The people in your life that are a little behind you, are they truly dragging you down? I want you to ask yourself that question. Give yourself an honest answer.
People who are a little behind you could be really good for you or they good be really bad for you. The good for you people are teachable. These are people that want to learn from where you are, they become your students. They want to know what you know and by teaching them what you already have mastered you are not only paying your knowledge forward – we as human beings are built to teach. Knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time. That’s where the beautiful stories come from. That’s where everything comes from. You have to pass your knowledge on and share it. That’s part of growth, it’s a basic need.
We want to share our knowledge with people. The benefit of that and in doing that, is that we are learning and growing in the process. When you teach somebody what you know, you’re forced to break it down and make it manageable and create words around it in a way that is easy to understand. By doing that, you’re breaking apart the puzzle and shuffling up the Rubik’s’ cube and to make it understandable for somebody else you have to put it back together. Every time you do that and explain to somebody else or teach to somebody else what you know, you become more knowledgeable of that subject or concept. You grow as a result.
You retain 90% of what you teach. If that isn’t reason enough to pay it forward, I don’t know what is. Everytime you’re teaching you are also learning and growing yourself.
The detriment to doing this too much is that it can put you too much into the past where you are always looking behind you,teaching and trying to bring people up to your level. If you’re not constantly growing yourself you become stagnant. You don’t want to surround yourself with too many people who are a couple of steps behind you, it will slow you down. A few people will help you grow and expand and move forward. In doing that you are reminded to look back and remember where you’ve been. Have compassion for where your students are at right now. It keeps you grounded. I was there too, I have empathy for where you are. It will help you to celebrate your growth and successes and everything you have obtained along your own journey and be grateful of all that you have experienced, knowing that you would not be where you are now if you did not have that knowledge that you obtained along the way. The knowledge that you are now passing on and teaching to who it is now your student.
The People Who Are With You
Finally ,you have those that are right where you’re at. The ones that are your collaborators and friends. Sometimes they have good days and sometimes they have bad days. Everytime you get together with these people you are bringing something to the relationship and you are getting something from the relationship. As long as the 2 way street is occuring, i would classify that as a healthy relationship.
Too much of that type of relationship can cause you to stagnante right where you are. It can cause you to fear growth and change and expansion if you look forward because there is nobody there to show you that is safe. It can also cause you to look backwards and judge and shame and feel resentment of where you came from. If there is nobody back there to remind you of what it was like, you can forget your journey really easily and be where you are in the present. That becomes really limiting because you start to fear looking backwards and people who are a couple of steps behind you. You are afraid they will pull you back into their world.
You’re afraid of people who are ahead of you because you are afraid of what is possible and exploring something out of your comfort zone. You’re afraid of change. You might know somebody in that place. These are the friends that talk about growth and never take action. The reason they might be stuck is because they lack people on either side of where they’re at. They lack people that are behind them and ahead of them.
You need both. You also need the mindset to be open to learning, teaching and collaborating. It is our responsibility to always be learning and moving forward. It is also our responsibility to teach what we know and pass our knowledge onto those who are open and willing to learn it. HAving people above and below give you that average. Again, you were always right where you need to be. There’s always going to be a couple of people right there with you.
Do Some Homework
I invite you to challenge yourself. Do some homework. Ask yourself, who are the 5-10 – don’t limit to 5 yet – that you spend the most time with. These are the people at home, personal life, colleagues, people you spend time with, people you converse with on a regular basis. If you are married or living with someone, that person is of course #1.
Ask yourself, do these people have positive optimistic energy or negative draining energy? Are they light or dark? Are they role models and teachers who are willing to pass their knowledge onto you? Are they students who are open and willing to take your advice? Are they your students who refuse to take advice no matter how good it is? Who ask for it and then don’t take action on it and refuse to move forward and grow? Those are the ones you have to be careful. These are the energy vampires. If you have a lot of those in your life you need to create some distance, boundaries and create some protection strategies around your own energy.
Are there people on your list exactly where you’re at? Do they help you to feel safe and comfortable? Do they bring something to the relationship and do you offer to bring something to the relationship? Is it a two-way street?
In each of these relationships, do you feel like you are a better person for being in the relationship? This is a healthy balance.
After you have made your list, look it over. Do you have a balance of people who are in all 3 of these positions?
If not, and you find that you’re out of balance ask yourself if you feel out of balance. Ti’;s really about tuning in and giving yourself to ask the question and give yourself the answer.
If the answer is yes, congratulations! Now you are equipped with the power of awareness. When that is combined with the intention to choose something that is better for you, like choosing to spend time with the people who balance you out and fill out the areas of your life here you are missing growth. You are well on your way to a balanced and harmonious life. That’s what I want for you.