“Your success will equal the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.” Have you heard this before? If you are like me, you have heard it many times. Perhaps, like me, you have repeated it many times.
Today, I admit that I was wrong. Or at least incomplete…
You see, there is a flaw with that idea, and the flaw is most people do not get to choose the five people with whom they spend the most time.
For instance, when you are a child, the five people with whom you spend the most time are simply outside of your power to choose.
When you are in school, you have more choice but still are likely to drift along, and spend the most time with the people you coincidentally meet.
For most of us, after school comes work. We enter the job force. Certainly, when we are hired, we do not have a choice about the people with whom we work.
You Are Not A Tree
Jim Rohn used to say, “You are not a tree.” By which he meant, you always have some kind of choice, because you are a conscious being created with the power to decide.
But, if like most, you have drifted into the common associations of your life, there is a certain amount of pain involved in changing the five people with whom you spend the most time.
For instance, perhaps you are married, have children, and have extended family who comprise the majority of your social interactions outside work. What are you supposed to do? Leave your family in search of better people?
By no means!
This dilemma merely points up the flaw of this “five people” idea. It leaves out the factor of intentionality.
I believe that your level of income and success can become the average of the five people you most intentionally spend time with, and whom you most intentionally model and emulate.
The level of excellence you achieve, the level of financial freedom that you attain, the level of emotional and mental clarity that you secure, can be improved by creating intentional relationships.
When you choose a small group of people – it doesn't have to be five, but probably shouldn't be more than a dozen or so – with whom to associate for the purposes of improving yourself, you unlock relationship power you may have never experienced before.
What if you chose a group to associate with that was comprised of members who have attained the levels of excellence you wish to attain?
What if you planned and scheduled time where your focus was on learning from, emulating, and seeking the counsel of these like-minded individuals… all people who, like you, are reaching for new heights of excellence and achievement?
It's Not About The Hours
I submit to you that even if you don't spend “the most time” with these individuals, the time you do spend in a state of intentional learning and receiving their wisdom will yield multiples of the results you get from other relationships in your life.
This isn't to criticize, judge, nor look down on your family, coworkers, or friends.
But it does recognize this reality: if you are surrounded by people who scoff at your dreams, who laugh at your efforts of self-improvement, or who otherwise undermine your efforts to change for the better… you need to seek an antidote.
Those people who do not support your dreams destroy them.
They probably don't consciously intend you harm, but harm you they will. Those who seek to keep you from “getting your hopes up” will keep you mired in the muck of mediocrity.
If you are surrounded by people who are not living life to its fullest potential, one of two things will happen: either they will pull you down, or you will lift them up.
Here is the danger: it takes no effort for you to be pulled down into the muck. It takes concentrated, focused, sometimes painful and Herculean work for you to lift up the others in your life.
How to Engineer Your Success
You have to decide to do it. You have to focus your your will upon this task. And you have to fight the resistance that will come against you, often in the form of the people you love the most.
My advice to you is as follows:
- Find or create a group of “intentional associates”. Seek out a group of people who are like-minded, who share your ambition, your passion for excellence, and the direction of your dreams.
- Intentionally build relationships with these people, and do whatever it takes to spend time with them. That means travel if you have to, it means take time off from work if you have to, and it probably means enduring some skepticism from many people you live and work with on a day-to-day basis.
- When you have identified and determined to spend time with your fellow travelers in this journey to excellence, make the most of the time you invest. With proper concentration and focus, you can make a single day with these individuals yield productivity and results that will last for months. Go to your meetings with your new friends armed with pen, notepad, and calendar. Don't leave the meeting without a list of action steps you will take between now and the next meeting.
- Ask your group of new associates to hold you accountable to the commitments you make, and let them know that you plan to hold them accountable to theirs. Not commitments of work or favors that will be traded with one another; commitments in regard to what you will do to improve your own life, relationships, and financial well-being. We all need someone in our life to give us a “swift kick in the pants” when we aren't living up to our own potential. And often, our everyday friends and family too quickly “let us off the hook.”
- Never let your group of intentional associates in any way cause you to feel superior to the other people in your life. Never use your aspirations as an excuse to judge, criticize, shame, or blame your family, friends or coworkers. We are all on our own journey, and we are all at different stages on that path. Love the people in your life who do not have the same commitment to excellence as you – just don't emulate them, and don't look to them for advice on how to be a success.
So to restate the proverb with which we started this discussion : “You will likely experience the same level of excellence, success, and fulfillment as the five people with whom you spend the most intentional time.”
Make a commitment to upgrade, or perhaps create for the first time, a circle of such “intentional associates.”
One way to accomplish this might be to come spend the day with Cliff Ravenscraft and me, in Colorado Springs, on November 12. We are gathering with a small group of like-minded people, who want to take their business, and their life, to the next level. Click here for details about how you could be part of that group.
Question: with whom will you be spending intentional time in the next few months?