Surround Yourself with People Who Hold You to a Higher Standard than You Hold Yourself
Benjamin P. Hardy

Don’t get me wrong, because Ben Hardy is one of the best people you could follow on Medium for some positive life advice. But I am just so fed up with the repetition in postings of “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” No, you aren’t, or you don’t have to be. Of course we are influenced by those around us, and it’s important that that influences with whom you choose to spend time. But Bruce Lee or Albert Einstein or Paul McCartney or Richard Feynman or John von Neumann, or even examples “out of left field” like Beyonce or Lady Gaga, were or are most evidently NOT an average of the people around them. They transcended them. Do you really think that this applies to the Nobel Prize winners or the World Champions, or even someone just at the top of their particular tree — top instructor or teacher in a school? If it were true, we’d all still be somewhere around the average of five Cro-Magnons from 35,000 years ago. Look at the comment posted by Chris Tsiolas, “Reminded me of the quote, If you’re the smartest (whateverEst, best) person in your group, you’re in the Wrong Group.” Well, that disproves the averaging idea all by itself, doesn’t it, because how could you be the smartest if you always end up regressing to the average by spending time with that group? (Sometimes you’re the leader and want to stay that way — you won’t put up with getting “averaged down”.) It’s just too brainless a thing to keep repeating, and I have the feeling that it could be a serious oversimplification of how to advise people about the effects on them of the influences of people around them.

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