As humans, we like to think of ourselves as individuals who are in full control of who we become. But there is a factor that we may not realize has such a crucial role in contributing to the bits and pieces that make us who we actually are. It’s those people that we surround ourselves with who have such a large impact on our character.

     “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

When I read this, the first thought that plopped into my reflection zone was, “Who are those people in my life?” The second thought to arrive there was whether or not those people have traits that I’m okay with adopting.  We all have those friends or coworkers that have viewpoints fully capable of making you cringe and nod your head to avoid conflict. We generally stand by and don’t see this behavior as harmful, because we are not the ones directly dispersing those energies into the world. But when you think about it, the more that we are exposed to those negative things, the more desensitized we become to them—thus the more likely we are to continue to engage in behaviors we don’t necessarily agree with.

    So what our job should be is to become the hiring managers of our social circles. In some cases, I’m thinking becoming the firing manager may be the way that this process will need to begin. In other words, in order to keep your garden fruitful, you need to weed out the plants that are detrimental its growth first.

There are many groups of people who have already caught on to this positivity domino effect. They have chosen to slide head first into communities that weed out the bad before it can even start to root itself. CrossFit EP and PL are a perfect example of this. The “Work Hard, Be Nice Project,” was able to thrive so quickly because it was an obvious choice for a gym motto where everyone involved could truly relate and stand behind it.

This is just one example of how choosing to place yourself around those who lift you up and motivate you to be better for yourself and for your community can allow you to grow. The reality is, we will never be able to escape the negative people that we encounter on a day-to-day basis, but what we can control is whom we let into our world when we are enjoying our free time. Seeing someone digress because of a toxic relationship is truly heartbreaking and it’s even harder when that person is you.

Challenge yourself to break away from comfort zones and gravitate towards people who you would be more than happy to let it rub off on you. Because after all, there are enough negative influences in this world, and there is only one you. So make your choices wisely.

Written By: Hayley Sutherland

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