The company you keep

I have been thinking about attitude and how it affects us in our daily life — from our relationships, to our careers, to our own thoughts. All of these things influence our hopes and dreams.

In Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence, she talks about how to start your day with the power pose, and how it can make a big difference in your attitude. She studies nonverbal behaviour and how we judge others, but we tend to forget that we also judge ourselves. We are influenced by our own nonverbal cues: our thoughts, feelings, and body language. Our thoughts can affect our bodies and vice versa.

What if we considered external factors, such as the company we keep? Think about who you talk to everyday– your co-workers? Friends? Family? I decided to explore this idea further. Why? Well, according to author Tim Ferriss, you are the average of the five people you most associate with.

This notion comes from the law of averages. The people you talk to and hang out with influence your thinking. The list can be ever-changing, depending on the focus of your life, whether it is physical, emotional, psychological, or financial.

Apparently, we rely mostly on proximity when selecting the people we associate with. In school, who did you choose as your friends? Sometimes we don’t have a choice. For instance, at work we sit next to the people we are assigned to work with. However, we can seek out work colleagues that hold us to a higher standard. You have probably noticed that by being around certain people they can challenge you and elevate your thinking. Ben Hardy suggests that this is a conscious choice and it is a reflection of the standards we have for ourselves. Even if you can’t move your workstation, you can walk around and find colleagues and mentors that will elevate you.

How does this connect with Amy Cuddy’s philosophy? She encourages us to adopt positive body language because this affects our thinking style and is an outward sign of how we value ourselves. This is a simple concept that doesn’t cost money or require a fancy app. Your body language could help you attract the right people to provide positive influences in your life. If you find people that challenge you, they can help you foster a positive, winning attitude. Believe that you are worth it and you deserve to surround yourself with good people that hold you to a higher standard!

Sheila Taylor, MA is a career counsellor and DFSC volunteer. She values the company she keeps with fellow DFSC volunteers.

Originally published at

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