Where you will be in a few years time will depend on the books you read and the people you surround yourself with. The books you read open up your mind to various new perspectives. Great books are more than just entertainment, they provide an education. A great book has the power to change your life. However the selection of books you read is easier to control. The more difficult or less clear aspect to control is the people you surround yourself with.
You have seen in some form or another all the quotes, blog posts, books about “choosing the right friends”, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with” or “people around you affect your personal success”. Most of the quotes on this have become clichés. It is easy to understand the value of the message, as your environment really shapes who you become and your environment is heavily influenced by the people you spend most of your time with. The people around you have an influence into how you think, how you act and ultimately how successful you will be. What is difficult or what most people don’t do is objectively look at the people they spend their most time with and make a call as to whether these people are toxic or healthy influences in their life.
A practical way to be more clear on who you spend your time with
Find some time and place with minimum distractions. Spend some time thinking about the way your life is structured each week, how you spend your days and what you usually do on weekends. After this, spend some time thinking which people you spend most of your time with. Write down a list of these people. The number varies for everyone, so you can stop at 3, 5 or 10, whenever you feel you have comfortably exhausted the people who have an influence in your life. For each one of these people ask yourself these questions:
- Is this person a bad influence in my life in any way?
- In what ways does this person add value to my life?
- Does this person inspire me to be a better person?
- Does this person allow me to add value to their life?
- Does having this person in my life align with my life goals, or they are actually making me move backward?
Once you do this exercise you will have a clearer picture on whether you need to make changes in terms of the people you surround yourself with or not. The idea is not to be anti-social and get rid of all your friends, but it is important to be aware of the impact the people around you have. Life is too short to allow the people you surround yourself with to be selected by accident or circumstance, be explicit about it.