October 1, 2020

Who Are Your Friends?

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

This quote has long been one of my favorites. In June I attended my 40th college reunion at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Amidst the nostalgic beauty of the old campus, was the renewal of contact with Bill and Bob. For the 5th time in the last 20 years we climbed on the Boulder and had our picture taken together. While the boulder has somehow grown taller the relationships remain rock solid. This reunion reminded me, with a feeling of gratitude, how friendships have helped pull me forward.

In that significant undergraduate time of my life, my friendship with Bill and Bob and a few others helped me advance my life, at times in spite of myself. If you hang with people that are legal, moral, ethical and pursue worthy goals, it is likely you will be doing similar activities.

The opposite is also true. We intuitively understand this point with people that over use substances. Most frequently they hang out with people that do similar destructive behavior. Then there is an ongoing pull to act in similar negative ways. This becomes, in some cases, a “fatal attraction”.

The college relationships remain important. While Bill and Bob are currently more present in my spirit, than day to day, their influence remains profound.

But the principle remains today as I engage with colleagues and community. Who do I spend time with and communicate with? They are good folks- legal, moral and ethical and pursuing worthy goals; they pull me forward, sometimes in spite of myself. I am interested in people that add value to church, community, their family or their own self growth. These topics then become part of the conversation and influence me to ask myself how I can do similarly. I thus grow similar interests. At one level, because of who I spend time with, I have little choice but to take this direction.

Consider who you have been spending time with in the last few weeks. If these people are not pulling you forward, consider adjusting your relationships and activities

You are in other people’s lives too. Understand that you influence others too. When you strive to be a good influence…that further helps you! This modeling seems particularly important for parents as you are likely to be one of the five in your children’s lives.

Choose your friends wisely and make their choice of you similarly worthwhile.

For me, I am grateful for those friends and role models, (the number is well over 5) that have pulled me forward.

Thank you.

Bill