Some people say that we are an average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. True or not, it begs the question, “Do we mind picking up the traits of those around us?” There have been times in my life where I would have answered that with a resounding NO but for the most part I have hung around some pretty amazing humans.
I have never thought myself to be very impressionable, I’m always trying to stay ahead of the trends and never like to do things just because they are popular. It’s done more out of principle than anything else–why follow when you can do your own thing? Psychologists and Sociologists seem to think that the majority of humans are very impressionable (remember, we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with). Maybe I haven’t gone through the kiln yet after all.
Cue a reflective moment, soft music, and slow camera pan across my in-home library.
I am, in fact, impressionable. I see traits from my parents in me. Traits from my wife can be found in me. My closest friends and I share the same slang and unsaid jokes. Always being driven to become a better human (body, soul, mind), I have sought out great individuals to surround myself with. That’s harder said than done. Most great people are busy doing great things or have great families to spend time with–it’s hard to lend a minute to someone who isn’t great yet! But that’s what makes these people great, they give to things and people they either care about or see greatness hiding inside. I feel privileged when someone says ‘yes’ to mentoring me or spending time with me.
No matter what stage of life you are in, we all need mentors. In a religious setting, we call this discipleship. There is always someone who is better at _______________ than you. Better at leading, better at writing, better at designing, better at meeting goals, better at singing, better at selling, etc. The list goes on. Flip the coin, YOU are always better than someone else. Mentorship and greatness are most successful when it’s a two-way street. You are helped by others and you help others in return. You become better because of who you surround yourself with so you should also help others become better by being the best version of you.
The scary thing about us being the average of the people we spend the most time with is that we hope not to be the low end of that average. Don’t be the person who brings the average down. Remember that student in your math class that always brought the class average down? Don’t be that person. When you look around at the people you are spending time with, take mental notes. What do you like about those people? How are you contributing to the groups ‘average’?
You are the weakest link, goodbye!
If it turns out that you are the bringing the average in your group down, I suggest you take a long, hard look in the mirror. Ask your friends what they like about you or why they spend time with you. Also, ask what things they notice about you that are negative. Focus on what they say because oftentimes real friends are the only ones that speak truth into your life.
There is no better time to begin to seek out mentorship and mentee-ship than the start of a new year. We are already conditioned to make significant changes when a new year turns over, so it’s easy to throw this into the mix at the same time. Let’s become better versions of ourselves and lift the group average. Be the person that everyone looks up to and wants to learn from. I believe in you-you can do it.