Recently, someone said “you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with”. Now, for some of us, this can be a scary thought. What if you spend most of your time with your children, does that mean that you are the epitome of those children, all rolled up into one mass of terror? Sometimes, you do not have the luxury of choosing who you you work with…so does that mean that you are doomed to be the conglomerate of your closest five co-workers?
Now before you start getting all negative about your future, let’s examine something. For someone to be influenced, there has to be an influencer. That person would be called a leader in some circles. If you look at that person, why are they influencing others? or why are they doing the influencing? Is it because they set out from the beginning of every day, to influence others rather than be influenced? In some rare cases that may be true, but those “spawnings” of influence usually do not last long…and there is a good reason. They are like seeds that sprouted on a rock, only to find that there was no ground under them; nothing under them to support them. Their influence needs something to root itself into; some solid ground to grasp.
The influencer has a foundation and it usually was birthed early in their life but sometimes it was created later on, having such a profound impact that it became a formed habit. The influencer can be good causing everyone around them to be better, or bad making sure that no one can infringe on their turf. Either way, they are the primary influence, whether influencing all or not. So if you are not that “influencer” or at least you think that you are not, what can you do to keep from taking on the negative attributes of the “sum of five”?
The saying referred to the “who” of your influences but not of your “what”. Let’s make a few quick “sum of five” lists.
What are the last five books you read (or at least a part of)?
What are the five TV shows that you choose to watch the most?
What are the five websites that you direct your attention to the most?
What are the five places, besides home and work, where you spend most of your time?
While it would take a while to examine each of these areas at length, let’s just look at one and you can examine the others later, if you choose. In fact, I recommend it. OK, so what are the last five books that you read with the intention of finishing one day?
You know, reading is kind of magical. In a fiction book, it has the ability to take you a foreign place and thrust you into an adventure that few, if any of us would ever see in our lifetime. In a non-fiction book, it brings a reality to light and causes us to examine our own lives at times. Either way, reading has this method of getting inside of your mind and causing you to think, form ideas and then execute. Unlike watching TV, when reading, you pause and elaborate at times to expound and create.
Keeping that in mind, what things are you putting in your mind to expound and create upon. These things are influencing you and many times, they find their way through you to influence your “five”. You may be the influencer and not even know it.
So if you are an influencer, and are choosing the things that influence who you are going to be, who are you choosing to be?