You become what you surround yourself with

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


A great mentor, coach and friend here in Dubai reminded me of this powerful quote of Jim Rohn recently and it has stuck in my head ever since. It is so simple and yet so true, and when I look back at my days as a teacher, I can see how this adage had directly translated into my pupils, even those as young as 10 years old.

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

A great mentor, coach and friend here in Dubai reminded me of this powerful quote of Jim Rohn recently and it has stuck in my head ever since. It is so simple and yet so true, and when I look back at my days as a teacher, I can see how this adage had directly translated into my pupils, even those as young as 10 years old.

Typically, the unruly children who challenged authority and who felt it was not cool to concentrate on their studies would all hang out together, whilst the diligent children who respected authority and the opportunities their scholastic success would bring, gathered together to work the hard and listen attentively in class. Think back to your childhood, I’m sure this was true in your school too.

This pack mentality begins the moment we are born. We are natural copiers, acquiring characteristics from our earliest influences and continuing to absorb traits for our entire lives. Similarly to my reflections of the school yard, I can reminisce on the spectrum of jobs I have held over the years, the mixed teams I have worked in and the colleagues I have found myself spending the most time with. Typically, I am generally a positive person, but when I started to spend time around people that felt disenfranchised by their jobs, held a weak work ethic or were generally pessimistic, this quickly started to infiltrate my psyche.

This moment of recognition was monumental in my life and I made a mental promise to myself, to always surround myself with a myriad of like-minded, successful and hard-working people who took pride in excelling.

Taking this powerful Jim Rohn quote one step further, you could say, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, the five books you last read and the five shows you last watched”, but quietly acknowledging that Game of Thrones is the most recent series that I’ve been consuming in abandon, I hope that there is some leeway in these assumptions.

In the spirit of sharing this Ramadan, here are some tools and learning updates from me to you, so you can bring your average up:


#1. Take time to evaluate your ‘Emotional Energy Bank.’

List the people in your life that you spend the most time with and assign a score from negative 100 to plus 100, supporting your score with evidence.
– Negative 100 signifies that they zap all of the energy from you, leaving you thoroughly drained and incapable of mustering any positivity.
– Plus 100 represents those individuals who exude positivity, a can-do attitude and boundless vitality for life, leaving you feeling completely energized, like you can achieve anything you put your mind too.

Zapper (-100) _______________________0_______________________Energiser (+100)

Once you have done that, identify the individual situations where you typically spend more time with the energizers or with the zappers, then make a concerted effort to only spend time in energizing situations with energizing people. You will be amazed how quickly doors will open for you, things will miraculously appear to go your way and you will leave the zappers long behind.

#2. Avidly focus on individuals who inspire and mentor you:

I have always made it one of my success rituals to spend quality time with people who I admire and can learn from. Even if it is only a single dinner, or a five-minute chat over a green tea, these moments are gold-dust. It doesn’t even have to be someone that you know personally.

Identify the areas of mastery that you want to manifest in your life and seek out those who are already masterful in these areas. Read the books they read, practice the habits they exhort and meditate on their pillars of success. They have already done the hard work for you.

Kevin Spacey famously said, ‘if you are lucky enough to do well, then it is your duty to send the elevator back down.’

Every truly successful person will recognize all those who have helped them reach where they are today and will be happy to help others on their journey. The internet makes things even easier for you by giving you direct access to the most accomplished people in the world. It’s your duty to tune into them, even if it is only a five minute YouTube video in the morning as you brush your teeth, or some of the motivational videos we share on the UAE Coaching Facebook page. Luckily for me as a coach, I get to regularly meet with like-minded coaches and clients.

So what are you waiting for? Take five minutes and list at least one person who inspires you in each of the prime areas in your life. Fitness, family, friends, intimate relationships, learning and hobbies, are all key areas that will benefit from your attention. You will probably be able to think of more, and it is personal to each of us. Create a mental or physical list of positive influencers that you can refer to and consciously realign your intentions when you feel you are going off-track.

List their name, their role, why they inspire you, and commit yourself to a time and place that you will set aside specially to learn from them.

Mish – Professional – Inspiring entrepreneur- Saturday 12-2pm dinner
Linda – Personal – Positive about relationships- Tuesday 7-9pm green tea

#3. Garbage in garbage out. Your media consumption is crucial to success:

We are exposed to a maelstrom of content on a daily basis, from the very moment we open our eyes, roll over and look at the newsfeeds on our mobile phones. You can be easily sucked-in to watching some irrelevant reality TV show, featuring people that you would not like to be, or reading negative, inflammatory news that immediately distracts you from your core purpose. You have to be fastidious about the types of material that you are exposing yourself to, because like the people you surround yourself with, it will quickly alter the quality of your thinking.

I will make it a morning ritual to read The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma to discover some simple, effective strategies that ensure my personal and professional success. I am also dedicated to watching inspiring, transformational documentaries that transcend the everyday dumbing down that is synonymous with pop culture.

#4. Seek out the best in their field:

When you want to improve in something, the quickest and best way is to hire an expert in that field, or spend time in the company of someone with inexhaustible passion and dedication. I like to think of this as an investment (money and time) rather than a cost. The knowledge you get from this has multiplying effects and is the best way to get professional and personal success. I make it my business to seek out the best workshops, coach training organisations, personal trainers and corporate trainers here in Dubai. I know this is why I also attract some of the best coaching clients around, success attracts success.

I hope these 4 tips will help you grow both personally and professionally, rise in mastery and bring up your average. When you do this consistently, imagine the impact you will have on the world around you and the average of others.

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