A while back I wrote about the influence of the closest people around you. People talk about how the 5 persons that are close to you, that you have a close relationship with, are the ones that influence you the most. They have gone so far to state that you become the average of those 5 persons and that they can predict your life by looking at theirs.
We can be very unaware of this influence, but it does make sense. Just think about it. If you hang around people who are constantly complaining and talking negative, you are highly likely to start to complain as well. If you let them get close to you, you allow negative thoughts to enter your mind. If, on the other end, you start hanging out with people who talk about positive subjects or discuss daily topics with an open mind, trying to look at things through multiple perspectives, you are going to start doing that as well.
‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’
– Jim Rohn
In the interviews I have done, this is also a recurrent subject. During one interview I received the amazing insight to ask for advice from people who are already successful in your eyes in the field you want to grow in. They have taken steps and encountered setbacks. They are the experts in your field. Why ask friends and/or family who have no idea about it, or at best some general knowledge? Why take advice from people who do not want the same things you want.
During other interviews I enjoyed hearing how the people you hangout with are able to influence you positive as well. A healthy competition between friends who push each other to achieve more and grow. You need to put yourself in a motivating environment. If you hang around people daily who drink alcohol and smoke weed, it is not going to motivate you. If you hang around people who are continuously striving to improve their skill and their work, it will challenge you to do the same.
Not just that, you can also become a person who does this for others. You do not have to use words to motivate the people around you. Your actions are loud enough.
‘I am always trying to improve the people around me’
– Sharissa Devis
We can be influenced in many ways. Ideas are transferred from one person to the other by the use of words. Words in this case are essential for this transference to happen. For the contagion of feelings, words are important, but the nonverbal cues are even more so.
Emotional contagion occurs most of the time this occurs unconsciously. So if you spend a lot of time with people who are feeling sad and/or talk negatively about others, it is possible that you start feeling the same emotions without even being aware that they weren’t yours in the first place!
If the behaviour, feelings, or ideas are helpful for what we are trying to achieve, then by all means spend more time with those people! Yet we should try to avoid people who create trouble and are consciously or unconsciously holding us back.
At first I thought that this meant that you had to cut out certain people from your life, but this is not the case at all. You can still hang out with everyone you are hanging out with today. What you can do is choose who you are going to be influenced by. What topics are you going to talk about, what do you share with whom.
‘We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why’
– Stephen King
By this I do not mean that you have to ignore certain persons you hang out with. Even a close friend or a sibling might be someone who has a bad influence on you, this does not mean that you have to eliminate them out of your life. What you can do is try to be aware of the influence they have on you and your life and choose how you let yourself be influenced by them.
At one point in life I started to understand this better and better. I decided to choose my people and create my own inner circle. This process costs time and much effort, but it is worth it. Think about it if you would like to succeed as an artist or business person, would you hang out with successful artists and people that excel at their ambitions, or would you let yourself be influenced by people who talk down on dreams and have a tendency to attract drama or create it.
You can also start looking at how your surroundings influence you. You might enjoy spending time with certain people, however, they might have a bad influence on your physical and mental health. And if you have certain dreams and goals that you want to accomplish, try to look for people who excel in those areas. These are the influences that can help us.
If you would like to share your story and/or insights, or if you know someone who would want to, please let me know! You can send me a message or an e-mail. More contact information can be found here. Let’s grow together.