Did you know that you are the average of your five closest friends? A Wall St. Journal article stated that if your best friend loses 10 lbs, you have a 75% chance of losing 10 lbs. Dr. David McClelland at Harvard said that the number one factor on your wealth is the wealth of your friends. Other research indicates that the number one reason why you work where you work is your friends.
A few years ago, the author Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame), was speaking with motivational speaker Tony Robbins. That year Canfield made $4 million dollars and Robbins made $90 million. He said to Tony, “You never graduated from high school and I have bachelors and masters degrees from Harvard. We’re doing the same thing for a living, but you make $90 million and I only make $4 million. How is that?” Robbins responded by saying, “I have a Mastermind group of 6 executives. It’s based on the book Think and Grow Rich.” Canfield replied, “I read the same book. I have the same group.” Robbins said, “Mine meets every two weeks.” Canfield replied, “Ours meets every two weeks.” Robbins said , “Everybody in my group makes about 90 million.” Canfield said , “Everyone in our group makes about 4 million.” At that point, Canfield figured out the answer to his own question. (By the way, if I were coaching Canfield I’d have told him to stop complaining about only making $4 mil a year.)
There isn’t a whole lot of research done on this and we tend not to put a lot of time and energy into thinking about the subject. But if they have something to do with our wealth and our health shouldn’t we think more intentionally about our friends?
Assuming you agree that this philosophy on the average of five is true, how can you use it to your advantage? Quite simply if you want to take your success to the next level either personally or professionally you need to associate yourself with people who will be a positive influence on your life. Are you an athlete? If so did you ever notice that you play better when you play with (or against) better players? The same thing holds true with other activities too; you step your game up with better competitors.
When we associate with people who have achieved at a higher level or have a greater skill set we are positively challenged. It raises the bar and serves to bring out the best in us, inspiring us to be better. Observing and modeling an individual’s positive example helps us reach new heights. It is not a sport specific phenomenon; it really applies to everything we do.
Do your friends add or take value away from you? Do they celebrate your success? Are they happy for you? Who do you surround yourself with? Sometimes we have unhealthy friendships and we have to let those friends go. You can’t get to where you want to be when friends try to drag you down. We need friends and colleagues who want to help us become the best version of ourselves. We need friends who will give us honest, helpful feedback even if sometimes it hurts. They do this for us because they love us and want the best for us. Good friends enrich your life and you can do the same for them.