‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ – Jim Rohn
An advice you often hear from those who have travelled the road to success, is to surround yourself with successful people. Leo Wildrich explains this beautifully on Lifehacker, using the framework of Jim Rohn. Success breeds success, while negative people tend to only drag you down. I couldn’t agree more. But when you want to surround yourself with successful people, this means you have to leave some of your current peers behind. Although some peers, you don’t want to leave behind.
There is this case when a buddy or a relative has the same potential and the same ambitions as you, but just isn’t that far yet. If you are like me, you want to take them to the top with you. It can be frustrating to see all the missed opportunities of your loved ones. You see them work hard, not smart. You want them to use a new tool or internalize a new system. You want to teach them a new habit. So I do my utmost best to pull them forward.
For instance, when I started listening to audiotapes, a new world opened up for me. It helped me see new opportunities, lifted my motivation sky high, and make rapid progress. I instantly wanted to make my peers listen to it, too. They responded in different ways:
- Perfect response. Some peers started listening immediately. My sister Batul was the first who followed my lead. Sheraz was the second.
- Mediocre response. Some peers like the idea, but don’t start straight away. Or they try it once, and then can’t seem to turn it into a habit.
- Bad response. Some peers dismissed it completely. ‘I don’t need this… I am already motivated by nature. This is brainwashing.’
So, how should you act upon this?
→ How you should handle peers that respond good or bad, is clear. For those who respond perfectly: keep encouraging them.
→ Don’t waste time on the peers that respond badly. You can try to convince them, but it probably won’t work. And if they don’t even give it a try, they aren’t worth your time, anyway.
But how to handle the ones in that give a mediocre response? This is a more difficult question. There is this famous Buddhist quote that intrigued me:
‘Once the student is ready, the master appears.’
I totally get this saying. But I think that for the second group, an exception could be made. Like a coach, sometimes you just have to push people a little. For instance, when you start a new morning exercise routine, invite your partner or your roommate to join you. It doesn’t cost a lot of effort, you were doing it for yourself anyway. But once your peer gets in the zone, you may lift him up forever.
I recently got the idea of inviting a friend to join me in my ‘7 questions to finish your day’ habit. Since I started this habit, I was able to take my productivity to another level. Naturally, my 7 questions partner is Sheraz, as he is both my brother as business partner. The idea is to mail each other your 7 answers every day. By doing this together, you have someone who functions as a stick that keeps you on the right track. I started thinking: what if you could help another peer to make this a habit? The only thing it takes is to include him in the ‘cc’ of your mails.
If you are the average of the people you spend most time with. Then why not first try to uplift the people you spend most time with already?