Have you ever heard the saying, “Show me your five closest friends and I’ll predict your future?” The original author of this quote was John Kuebler. And while you may never have heard of him, this quote has almost become a mantra of the self-help world.
Perhaps the biggest reason is that studies have shown you will begin to reflect or resemble numerous characteristics of the five people you are closest to in life.
In some cases, you might be thinking, “Great!” In others, you might be cringing.
Maybe even more concerning is that this not only applies to you or other adults, but it’s also true for kids too.
Furthermore, it may be more than just what is seen and heard on the surface. It might also relate to intelligence, problem-solving, emotional state—even health and physical fitness
For example, an interesting Harvard research study found that if you have a close friend or relative (that you spend time with frequently) who is obese, you are 57% more likely to become obese. If your spouse or partner is obese, you are 37% more likely to become so yourself.
The question then becomes… do we choose people who are “like us” or do we begin to adopt the characteristics of the people we choose to be around on a regular basis?
Could this question be answered by looking at the age-old expression, “Don’t spend too much time with so-and-so or his [cheapness/dishonesty/sadness/fear etc.] will rub off on you?”
This is likely one of the reasons parents are always so concerned about who their kids hang around with—even if unconsciously. You might not know why you don’t like Bobby or Sue, but you just don’t. So you make excuses when your Little Johnny or Little Becky requests to spend time with this friend. Maybe somewhere deep inside you just “know” the truth—that who we surround ourselves with most of the time shapes who we become.
But the good news is that the reverse is true. If we spend time with and around people who are bright, witty, genuine, and caring, we often find that we begin to feel and act the same way. And we are perceived the same way. A self-perpetuating cycle, this brightens up our perspective all the way around.
Likewise, it’s shown that if we hang out with successful people – people who have created their success in any number of ways or in any number of areas – we are more likely to achieve success ourselves. Maybe it’s that we start seeing possibilities where we used to see “impossible”? Or perhaps it’s because they naturally open doors that they allow us to walk through as well.
Whatever the case, it should be unarguable that since the influence of friends and acquaintances will surely impact your life, you want that impact to be positive. Thus, you must surround yourself with people who demonstrate that which you want to see and experience. Similarly, for your kids, you should help them to see and do the same. Furthermore, while also providing them – whenever possible – with adult role models (hopefully yourself primarily) who will help them positively, courageously, and successfully too!