Monday, February 23, 2009

Are You the Average of Your Friends?

"You can judge a person by the company they keep." I've heard this before, but didn't understand it the way I do now... Now I've come across a very interesting statement - you are the average of your ten closest friends.

It was stated about income, but it applies to a lot more. Take a moment and think about your closest friends, and ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Do most of them like to stay out late and/or drink?
  2. What are their favorite TV shows?
  3. Do most of them smoke?
  4. Do most of them like to read books?
  5. What cars do they drive?
  6. What is their average income?
Since, for the most part, like attracts like, I think you'll be amazed at the similarities when taken as an aggregate. Now I think this works both ways - you attract people who have similar interests to you, and you influence them and they influence you. For example, if you went to bed at nine every night, how long would you stay close to people who partied until 2?

How about - how comfortable would you be hanging out with people who made 1/5th the money you did? Or didn't know how to handle money, and were deeply in debt, while you had half a million in the bank? Along the same line, if you were working on a new business idea, would you want to be around people excited for you and with helpful experience, or a group of people who kept finding reasons your ideas won't work?

In Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, they tell the members that they'll have to find a new group of friends. The ones they got drunk with aren't going to help them stay sober. Likewise, if you want to make strides in your personal situation, it's probably time to take a good look at the people around you. Luckily, it doesn't have to mean leaving friends. When I asked a friend about this, his reply was, "Heck no, I'm going to help make my friends wealthy too. Then I'll have my same friends, and I'll still be their average."

Some Things to Consider
  • Are you the average of your closest friends?
  • Do you like what you see in them, or do you wish they would change?
  • Do you honestly believe you can improve while keeping to the same environment?
  • What can you do to, as Gandhi put it, 'be the change you wish to see in the world?'

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