You are the sum of five people

Some thoughts occurred to me on the idea that you are an average of the five people you spend the most time with, a thought originally from Jim Rohn. The idea goes on the law of averages, so applied to humans it is that whomever you send the most time with you will be more like, so if you want to change something in your life for the better, then you need to spend time with other people who are already exhibiting those qualities.

Limitations can help you

So if you are wanting to quit something, then spending less time with people who are doing the thing you want to quit or phase out of your life, will benefit you. Sometimes we cannot practically reduce the number of experiences with people, although we can alter how we interact in them. I made a video on how to deal with toxic people if you find yourself in that situation.

Self isolation allows for greater connection

I’d like to extend the idea. I think that in today’s hyperconnected age, even with self isolation happening to various degrees around the globe due to COVID19, we are still highly connected with the internet for the countries that do have adequate internet connection. In my personal life I have had more genuine heart to heart conversations in the almost two months that I’ve been self isolating here in Australia with women around the world.

The average of 5 influences not just people

So, the idea that I am the average of the 5 people I spend the most time with, to me would then naturally extend to whomever is occupying space in my head and heart. So if there is a person who I love and follow on social media, and check in and interact with them regularly, then they would count as one of my five, even though I haven’t been physically close to her.

This idea of an influence would hold true in my mind for any character that is holding space in my mind for long periods of time, and say it’s a heroine from a book that has characteristics that I would like to exhibit more in myself, well I’d argue that she is also one of my five, and she doesn’t even exist as a “real” person. It’s a fascinating thing to think about, who influences us, how we are shaped, and then how we create and output from there.

You catch other people’s emotions

In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear he talks the journal article from New England Journal of Medicine about the likelihood of obesity increasing based on who you are friends with, even if they don’t live near you. There’s also the emotional contagion theory where we literally catch emotions of others. This one makes so much sense, as I will often start laughing just by hearing someone else’s laugh, or when you see someone choke up and a tear start to form, naturally you feel the emotion too. The emotional contagion theory also extends beyond someone who is sitting across from you, or that you walk by on the street, it includes emotions in film, music, video, and what you’ve read.

I take in visual cues from my environment and perceive with with my senses, I also find that the feeling part of me is so strong, that I when I consider what’s most important to me in life, it’s how life feels, not necessarily how life looks on the outside. So, for me when I think about the 5 people theory, I really think of it more like the 5 main influences of my life at any given moment, or chapter of my life. Since I can catch emotions from physical and non physical ways, and science proves that humans are subconsciously influenced by friends and community members who don’t live in the same neighbourhood, then, it makes sense to me that the 5 person theory really needs to be extended to be more modern.

Take inventory of the influences in your life

I’m curious if you took an honest look at the five biggest influences in your life, and include television of all sorts, bloggers, influencers, real life physical people in your reality, books, etc, all of these characters, does that group hold space for you to live the life you want to live? Be honest with yourself and if the answer is no, then consider what is most important to you, just choose one piece, and adjust accordingly.

If you want more love in your life, and you are listening to music consistently that gets you in the nostalgic not in a good way but in a sad way kind of mood, then it might be time to give it a rest and add something else to your playlist that evokes more inspiring feelings of love. If you find that you have your go-to cry movie because you just love the lead character, but you really would rather be laughing, switch it up.

If you find that you are following people on social media that make you feel bad, rather than inspired, when you want to feel inspired, then unfollow, unfriend, or at the very least mute them. You’re responsible for your happiness. You are responsible for your love. You have some control, so exercise it.

All Love Always,

Jennifer Marilyn