Of course, this isn’t an absolute claim and there are variations on a case by case basis, but we must admit that there’s some degree of truth behind this statement. We’re all interconnected and bounce energy and emotions off each other. No one is an impenetrable fortress.

The “average of five rule” favourited by ambitious folks

It’s been famously circulated around the globe that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, originally stated by an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn. Quickly adopted by other entrepreneurs and ambitious folks of all sorts, people became more selective not only about what food they choose to eat but also who they allow into their closest circle.

The rule refers to the law of averages, the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes.

Hence it’s advisable to draw into your inner circle people whose goals are similar to yours and who challenge you to be your best, thereby raising your average or helping you maintain a high one.

Conversely, if someone is bringing down your average, it subsequently lowers your standards and you settle for less than what you truly deserve.

By surrounding yourself with chronic complainers, for example, you subconsciously convince yourself that the world is an unfair place to live in. If energetic and happy faces is what you get into daily contact with most, energetic and happy become your new normal; in sight, in mind.

So who are your five people? Housemates, classmates, co-workers, parents, it could be anyone, really. Write it down and do the math. You’re the average sum of them all.

Group of friends


Don’t ditch your old friends! You can have different five people for each area of your life

Thankfully, things aren’t quite so simple always as black and white. That being said, you don’t have to turn your back on your old school buddy or (heaven forbid) your mum for their lack of ambition. Every human has their due place in the world.

According to Tim Ferriss, an author and self-proclaimed “human guinea pig”, you don’t have to limit yourself to the same five people. Depending on what areas in your life you want to work on, choose your five peeps accordingly. Your pal might not be the best financial adviser in the entire universe, but they’re here to teach you that there’s more to life than being a money making machine and stepping up the career ladder.

Also, spending time with people much older and much younger than you broadens your perspective

If we apply “the average of five rule” to spending time with people who were born much earlier than us, then we should (hopefully) become more mature individuals with a fresh perspective on modern life.

Likewise, interacting with the youngest generation can help you restore a sense of curiosity, playfulness and the ability to look at the world and mundane things with awe and amazement (something we tend to lose as we grow older). You might even see yourself in them, at the time when everything was excitingly new, irrefutably possible and one week seemed to last one year…

Start with yourself

Last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that what we say and do can hugely affect others and their decisions as well. An ideal relationship is a kind of symbiosis, whereby people bring out the best in each other.

So go ahead and try to be a role model who can drift someone in the right direction. Be the one who raises the bar.

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.

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