“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn
Who we spend our time with has a huge influence on our lives. It is also a reflection of how we see ourselves. As social creatures we naturally adapt to those around us, we take on interests, worldview, language, behaviors, goals, attitudes, etc. I know when I am around someone with an accent or particular idiomatic speech pattern I tend to begin to match it, using inflection and some of the words they use, it is clear that they also have a much greater impact on my perceptions, attitude and thinking.
The people in our lives have a huge impact on us. As you get clearer about how you want your life to be, who you want to be in the world, start finding people who bring up your average, who inspire and encourage your journey, not just directly, but by who they are and what they are doing with their lives and in the world.
My teacher in India calls these people Noble Friends: people who uplift, inspire, encourage, model, and support who you want to be. Who calls you to your highest self?
This is one of the powers of mentoring, we consciously pick out someone who has the characteristics that we want to develop and create an intentional relationship with them. Through regular contact and direct transmission we begin to shift in that direction.
We don’t even need to be in contact with a person to get the benefit, you can often bring your mind back to a teacher or someone you admire. By keeping the person present in your mind you will be drawn to their way of being in the world. This is why we have pictures of idols and famous people around us, it is why we watch heroic movies etc… On some level we are drawn higher by those who we consciously and unconsciously honor with our attention.
Of course if we accept this premise then we must also be careful in the other direction too. Who around us takes us in directions we don’t want to go? What are we watching, reading, etc. that is not supporting the highest us?
Once you recognize the uplifting, noble people you bring into your life begin to consciously honor and appreciate them, take time and energy to bring them into your mind, associate yourself with them, find more of them. The principal of noble friends is a huge support and encouragement to your growth and wellbeing.