You're the Average of the Five People You Hang Out with Most - Dr. Ivan Misner®

You’re the Average of the Five People You Hang Out with Most

I just attended the international BNI Conference last week with more than 800 directors and members from almost 40 countries from around the world. It was an incredible experience that felt a little like a United Nations meeting!

One of the keynote speakers was Jack Canfield (seen to the right with Amy Brown of BNI, myself and Patty Aubrey of Chicken Soup for the Soul Inc.).

Jack shared many great stories and did an outstanding presentation (I’d highly recommend him to any organization). One of his comments really resonated with me. He said that “we are the average of the five people we hang out with most!” This comment reminded me of my belief that we become what we read and whom we hang around. This is a powerful concept great for anyone (including our children).

So, what are you reading and with whom are you hanging around? With this thought in mind, do you plan on making any changes in the near future? Good things to ponder.

I consider Jack a good friend and have an opportunity to spend a couple weeks with him every year as part of his Transformational Leadership Council. Thanks for your great presentation, Jack. You’ve given us many ideas to think about.

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10 thoughts on “You’re the Average of the Five People You Hang Out with Most

  1. Having not heard Jack Canfield or read any of the chicken soup tomes, I was greatly impressed with Mr. Canfield and his brand of improving the human condition. His stories are engaging, and his advice is plain & simple and down to earth without being preachy.

  2. Ivan – very timely article. I was just discussing this idea with my business partner, Emile Paradis. We realized that we must coach our Referral Institute clients to “Network Up.” In other words, you must seek out and build networking relationships that will pull you out of your comfort zone and force you to grow and sharpen your skills.

    Jim Rohn also discusses this concept of becoming the average of the five people you are surrounded by. He offers a set of simple questions to ask yourself about these people:
    1. Who am I hanging out with?
    2. What have they got me becoming? Where have they got me going? What have they got me reading? etc.
    3. Is this alright?
    And, if not, what will you do about it? Again, Jim Rohn offers 3 choices: Disassociation, Limited Association and Expanded Association.

    Networking is all about expanded association. By expanding our association to include more of the right people, and closing the doors to exclude or limit more of the wrong people we expose ourselves to new and better sources of influence.

  3. The BNI Conference was an amazing experience. I met and networked with people from all over the world. Jack Canfield’s presentation left me speechless. Below please see one of the key things that Jack Canfield spoke about:

    Jack Canfield says…
    The law of attraction doesn’t work unless you take massive action. Act when Opportunity presents itself. You don’t know how it’s going to unfold. You don’t have to know you just have to trust what your attracted too! We are attracted to people who we don’t have what they have. Sometimes we don’t know why we are attracted to that person, that place, or that thing. Follow your attractions! Your attractions are guiding you ,and leading you. God knows what you want, and the desires of your heart. He said we do this all the time…We put what we desire out there, and then we don’t allow ourselves to receive it when it shows up. Give yourself permission to receive the desires of your heart.

  4. It sounds like flawed logic at best. If each person is the average, then who is the leader, or the best?

    I think I’d rather think independently than to be an average follower!

  5. Dear P. Madsen:

    Thanks for your comment but… this isn’t a math formula – it’s a social concept. No one is suggesting that you take five people and divide by “N”. It’s really more of the idea that you become the people you hang out with. More importantly, Jack isn’t suggesting that you become a “follower”. He’s suggesting that you are influenced by the people you spend time with.

    Hmm, this sounds like something I’ve said to my children.

    Seriously, this isn’t math – it’s about relationships – it’s about creating relationships with people who stretch you intellectually and emotionally.

    I think that’s good advice.

  6. “We are the average of the five people we hang out with most!”

    I once had a person tell me Chanel if you want to get rich you must always remain broke. I sat their and thought for a second, and I asked why??? Here was his reply…He said if you make 100k a year, hang out with someone who makes 500k a year, and you will see just how broke you are. He then proceeded to say if you have 1 million dollars, hang out with people who are multi-millionaires and feel how broke you are. For a split second I didn’t get the message, and then the light bulb went on…If I only made 100k and hung around people that made 500k, in essence, yes I would be broke. However, hanging around successful people I aspire to be like, will help me reach my goals faster. I would get to learn the ins and outs of what they did that made them so successful…and eventually I will advance and grow to their level of success and beyond!

  7. I was googleing for who had said the quote “we are the average of the 5 people we hang out with the most” since i had seen it mentioned on Paul Finck’s FB status and stumbled upon your site. I really liked it and i liked Jeff Weir’s comment. Will be checking this site more often.

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  9. Nice article, I think it is applicable in all social aspect, I found it to be so true in business too. I believe it is very important to identify and interact with people who understand the dynamic and challenges in business and can help you grow (all aspects) by discussing and exploring ideas.

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