Dan Miller says that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Couples married for decades start to look like each other. It’s easy for best friends to start talking like each other (“I’m just sayin”). Even some dog owners start to look like their pets.
If Dan’s right, the implication is huge: We have the power to change the trajectory of our lives simply by being deliberate about the people we spend the most time with.
Hang out with people who think an obstacle can be overcome, that a noble goal can be achieved, that the thing actually can be done, and (not amazingly), the needle starts to move.
But for most of us, we leave our associations to chance. We find ourselves in an organization that follows its own unspoken risk rules. We serve on teams that default to limiting routines made automatic in the center of “the hairball” (See Gordon MacKenzie’s book). Small mindedness can be highly contagious.
Einstein thought differently (again): “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
I want to spend my time with the kind of dreamers who, when faced with the opportunity to become cynical, choose hope. I want to spend my time with people who fail gloriously and get up quickly. I want to spend my time with people who love God and God’s people with such resilience that I can’t help but want more of what they have.
Over the years, I have been blown away by so many brilliant, wealthy, wise, holy people who have generously shared their time. Sure, some couldn’t make time for me. But I’ve been amazed by the number of people way out of my league who said yes, some of whom have become lifelong friends and coaches.
Take this simple dare: Make a list of 5 people in your area you’d like to learn from, whom you’d like to be more like, five people who’s insight might help you overcome an obstacle you’re facing right now. Ask each of them for a 45-minute meeting. It’ll be really unusual if one of them doesn’t say yes. Keep the meeting to 45 minutes and come prepared with specific questions.
Repeat this process, with at least one meeting a month, for the next year. It just might change your life.