I often hear success and achievement to be defined as a solo effort, which in principle I agree with, but I think there’s slightly more to it than that. Yes, you can do some amazing things by yourself, but neglecting the influence of others may be slightly naïve. In fact I want to talk about how much the people around you really do influence you, and it’s called the ‘Rule of 5’ (well at least that’s what I call it).
Whether you’re aware of it or not, the people around you have an influence on you, and depending on how conscious you are of this – it could be significant! The rule of 5 states that you are the combined average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – your closest peers. That could be the average income, health, attitude or even the average jokes, so if you’re spending time with people who have awful jokes – don’t expect yours to be any better!
From about September 2010 I started preparing for high school exams (GCSE’s over here) which I took in summer 2011 and 2012. My closest peer group and I didn’t really have a lot of enthusiasm for the exams and their courses, truth be told we ‘coasted’ it.
But there was one difference – I was close friends with 2 others who took the thing seriously. They put in the work and paid attention (one of them got straight A*’s bar 1 subject), and I can definitely tell that they had an influence on my results, not that the others did badly, just there seemed to be a recurring theme.
At the time I noticed nothing, it didn’t even occur to me until I came across this rule of associations. This in comparison to other stories is relatively small and I can’t say I’ve experienced life changing results from the rule, but in that small instance I noticed it.
I think the power of this rule is profound yet subtle, you hardly notice it even though it can have a massive impact.
Like I said – it’s very subtle and could secretly be stealing your dreams, depending on who your peers are. I’ll give you an example of how this works:
You go out to dinner with your 5 friends, and they aren’t exactly healthy people, in fact they normally live off of processed or fast food – something you despise. When the waiter comes along, everyone orders a double hamburger with extra cheese and fries, now it’s your turn… Everybody turns to look at you as does the waiter, it’s all dependant on you and your decision. You go for the hamburger… Game Over.
This may be fictional but it’s definitely realistic. If you’ve got plans for greatness this will do nothing but hold you back, and unless you’re willing to let your dreams fade – you’ve got to make a change. Not necessarily your friends (although I think it will help) – but your own awareness, your consciousness.
This is where the exceptions come to this rule of 5, for if you know what you’re doing and have the discipline to not let the bad habits of others affect you – this rule won’t work. But if you have to do that – you’re around the wrong people. I believe that it’s best to be around the people who you want to be influenced by, because just like you – they’re making their own dent in the universe.
Unless you hang around with the 5 ‘best’ people in the world, you’re going to have to keep your eye open. The small things like a hamburger or a chocolate bar will soon add up and you’ll be asking yourself: “What the heck happened?!”. You need to watch out.
Like I said, changing your peers is also an option, the most influential and inspiring people are the best to be around, but that’s easier said than done.
Out of my peer group, as far as I’m aware, I’m the only one who’s dreaming big and setting massive goals, and I’m aware of that. I always keep my guard on for the small things that could rob me of my passion, and although it’s hard to stick with the integrity – it’s worth it.
Where Do You Stand?
Are you a stealer of someone else’s dreams with your own bad habits? Or are you the type of person who’s overflowing with discipline to stay on course?
Know your peers – know yourself. Watch out and keep your bearing for greatness, only you can hold you back.