The Sum of Who We Are

There is just no denying the fact that other people have a profound affect on who we are and who we are becoming. As humans we have amazing adaptive qualities. We shape our actions and reactions based on our surroundings and the type of people we associate with. Jim Rohn once claimed, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

I got to thinking about what Rohn said and what it meant in terms of my life. I thought about my ongoing intentions and daily affirmation, the experiences I want to have more of: to be healthy, wealthy, happy and free. It made me ask myself, of the people I spend the most time with, which ones embody these qualities I want to see in myself. Do I really admire them? Look up to them? Or do I just accept them because they are in my life already?

It’s important to define the kind of person you imagine yourself to be (even if you aren’t there yet). Once you’re clear about how you see your BEST self, then you’ll be able to seek out time with people who are already there, or well on the way. It’s not as if you want to BE them in any way, you just want to share similar qualities, i.e. you want their good to rub off on you. This goes for actual face time as well as who you interact with online – both can impact us by association.

These are the qualities I look for in others that I also want for myself.

Healthy – For several years now, health has become increasingly important to me – not only physical health, but also emotional, financial, spiritual, etc. Basically, I want to live a healthy lifestyle. It is the basis and foundation that allows me to do and be everything else I want. What I’ve come to find out is that hanging out with people who treat themselves well, eat well and exercise, makes it so much easier to give these things to myself. People who are not healthy often make excuses, and in turn, give you permission to have excuses as well. People who are doing nice things for their bodies don’t need excuses. For example, I am never tempted to eat at McDonalds because I don’t hang out with people who eat there. Instead, my friends and I enjoy either making nutritious, pretty food or going places that offer the same. I enjoy active pastimes like dance, yoga and running/biking/hiking, so I make friends with people who already do these types of activities. When we get together, that’s what we do.

Wealthy – This one has been a real learning experience for me – becoming friends with people who have money. In the past, I was too jealous of people with money to ever be friends with them. In some cases, I even looked down on them and scorned them and their situation. I created a huge barrier fueled by fear and the sad thought that they were, in some way, better than me. I even did this with family members who seemed to have more financial success than me. I not only kept them at arm’s length, I also kept the kind of wealth they experienced from entering my life. But once I began working toward a better sense of self-worth and understood more about the source of good, it opened doors for me to be friends with some pretty amazing people. I have learned so much from them in terms of how to create, manage and grow my resources. Mostly I get to see how people with money think and I began to think along the same lines. It’s turning out pretty cool already.

Happy – I know that everyone’s definition of happy differs to some extent. But for me, it mostly means keeping a positive mental attitude and feeling good about life in general. But it’s tough to stay positive when the people we spend time with are negative and talk badly about all types of things, work, the weather, other people, even the price of gas… Negative people will suck you down into their ungrateful energy. Honestly, they wear me out. On the contrary, hanging out with positive people leaves me feeling inspired and excited about life. Just the other day, my daughter who is very upbeat stopped by the house to do some laundry. After talking with her for a couple of hours, I felt enlivened by our conversation. She lifts people up, so it’s easy to see why she has a lot of friends. There’s something to be said for good vibrations – More Please!

Free – When I speak of free, I’m mostly talking about people who don’t see limitations to what they want in life. They don’t make excuses for the way things are. They go for what they want and they encourage others to do the same. I don’t know a whole lot of these types of people, but being around them always makes me feel invincible, like nothing can stop any of us from having the life of our dreams. If you’re one of these types and want to connect, hit me up in the comment section below. I’d love to get to know you.

It is possible to be selective about the people we spend our time with. I’m not saying that we should ditch any of our friends, per se, but we can increase our exposure and time spent with people closer to the type of person we imagine ourselves to be. Donald Miller says, “Some of us pay more attention to what we eat than we do to who we’re eating with. The reality is, the latter has a more dramatic affect on the quality of our lives.”

Be aware of who is influencing your life, if you care at all about the kind of person you are becoming. Whether you are 5 years old or 50, you learn by association. Find healthy, successful, positive people to emulate, and in turn you will come to appreciate more the person you’ve become. Don’t leave it up to chance. Identify them – make a date – learn from them what you can. Be willing to see new perspectives and be challenged in your thinking too. You may even become a good influence for others. Imagine the possibilities.

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