I’ve been seeing this quote a lot lately: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And it got me thinking, is it actually true?
I’m not sure if it’s the writer in me, or perhaps the engineer, but I’ve always been more solitary than social. This doesn’t really lend itself well to the averaging the five people around me when it’s usually just me or me and my wife.
In addition to that, there’s also a slight formulaic issue where the math actually doesn’t work. For example, if you were a monk who spent a lot of time alone, you would mathematically be “undefined.”
Maybe that’s the point.
Maybe Jim Rohn was right.
Maybe the sum of your soul isn’t the sum of your experiences, but those you experience life with. And…
The more I think about it, the more I believe it. But it’s not complete. Not yet.
There is more to life than people.
Writing that last sentence was actually kind of tough, because people do comprise such a large part of who we become in life. But the truth is…there is more.
There is purpose. There are places. And for some of us, there are pets (though most of us just call them friends).
What exactly does that mean though? How can you be the average of your five purposes?
Purpose is not singular.
For some of you this is going to be a revelation. For others, a point of contention.
But it’s true. You do not just have one purpose in life. You have many. Just think about it.
Take me for example. In this very moment, I can think of at least three different purposes in my life:
- To further the kingdom of God
- To be a good husband
- To write “the great American novel” (what author doesn’t work towards this?)
That’s just for the current season of my life. Maybe one day I’ll be a father? At that point how can my purpose not become to be a great dad?
Again though, we’re not done.
While people and purpose move us, so do the places around us.
Noah Kagan sent out an email that really got me thinking about the places that shape us.
In that email he said this:
“Evaluate your home, office and where else you spend your time to how it improves your life (or not). Do you have items that make you feel great? Are you working around people making you better? If you are, go there more often. If not, change it.”
When was the last time you looked around your house, or better yet, your bedroom. The place where you spend more than a third of your life, and asked yourself, “What about this room makes me feel great?”
Sounds silly doesn’t it?
Discard that thought if it does. Instead go a little bigger. What about your city? Does your city make you feel great? When you sit on your back porch, or walk down the street, are you overwhelmed by the feeling that you are most assuredly in the right place?
You should be. Maybe not every waking minute, but most of the time.
If not, I think you need to reread Noah’s advice, and if it doesn’t make you feel great change it. I did.
Do this today.
Grab a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. No, don’t use your iPhone note app. Actually write this down; the process does make a difference.
Sit outside on your porch, or like I do sometimes, just in the middle of your driveway.
On the paper make three columns:
Under each heading write down the five (people, purposes, or places) that you are surrounded by the most. These aren’t your favorite, but your most common. For example, I love Mt. Bachelor, but I’m only there a handful of weeks out of the year, so it may not make the list.
After your list is all finished, just look at it. Read the names that you wrote down, and think about. Then ask yourself one question.
Is this what I want in life?