Why you need to find great people to spend time with

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Regardless of who you are, you want to get better at something. No matter how far you’ve come in life, you want to improve yourself.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” — Jim Rohn

You can interpret the quote as “spend time with great people to become a great person”.

So if you want to become good at something, then you should spend time with people that are good at what you want to do.

But is that really true?

I hope not, but it seems to be.

You naturally gravitate to those similar to you

Meeting the right friends can be hard when you arrive at a new place. If you come into an already established environment, you tend to befriend the ones that accept you the most at first, but gradually be more and more with the people who are similar to you. If everyone is new to each other, you often instantly find people like you. Sometimes those friendships stick, sometimes they don’t.

If your best friends or someone you spend a lot of time with are someone dedicated to school, then you most likely also care about school, and spend a lot of time working on it. If your friends are smart, you probably are too. It works the other way around too. The reason you befriend the ones similar to you, is that they make you feel comfortable and accepted with who you are, because they are like you.

I bet some of you will think that your friends are bellow you, you’re way better than them.

But you’re not.

I know for a few people that might be true, if you don’t spend much time with your friends but mostly with colleagues and mentors. It can be hard for many to accept, but you’re most likely not any better than the average of your friends.

The saying is true

I can see that Jim Rohn’s saying is at least somehow true by looking at some people in my class. There are two people that always make noise, and have friends that do too. How they behave in lessons make them look like assholes; However, when I talk to them without any of their friends around, they seem like really nice people.

I’m usually a much calmer person than them, so when they’re with me, they tend to be calmer too.

This shows that Rohn’s saying isn’t just true in the macro, it’s also true in the micro.

When you’re with friends, you usually say whatever pops into your head, but if you’re with family or someone you respect, you often think more about what you say before you say something. You wouldn’t say some borderline jokes to your boss, but you would laugh at the same jokes with your friends later that day.

Finding the right people

I’m sure you have some role models, and if you strive to be like them, you should find friends that are more similar to them (friends that are as kind, smart or thoughtful as them). Surround yourself with the people that are better than you and you will be better yourself. I don’t know who said this quote, but it sums up excellent people to spend time with;

“Find someone who is where you want to be in 20 years, and spend as much time as possible with that person”

Don’t hesitate to ask your mentors, if that’s what you want to call them, many questions, they weren’t born great, they’ve also been where you are.

Where to find them

Finding the right people to spend time with can be hard, because they’re not someone you usually talk to.

You probably have someone in your area who’s done or is doing something you want to do, e.g. starting a company. If you can’t think of someone who you can contact to be your mentor, you can join a Facebook group about what you want to be doing, try to be active, and get in touch with wise people experienced about the topic. Another great way to meet people is by going to conferences, that’s a great way to get a broader network.

Last year I wanted a broader network, and since we were going to work for a company for a week as part of school, I decided to email an incubator and ask them if they had any companies who needed a one-week employee. I got an “internship” for a company who ran a health-website and walked away with a great experience.

I know getting in touch with strangers can feel weird and uncomfortable, but many would be happy to help you, because like I said earlier, they’ve also been where you are. A lot of role models busy and hard to get to, if that’s the case then I advise you to do something creative to get their attention, like this guy did.

At the beginning of the post I emphasized that I didn’t hope the saying was true. That’s because my friends — the people I spend most time with, aren’t people I want to be.

In conclusion, improving yourself can be difficult, but like all things, it can be accomplished trough hard work.