How Hot Are Your Friends? And Why You Should Care.

Read time: 2-3 minutes

One of the (many) snippets of wisdom I’ve learned from Coach Poliquin is that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I don’t think Charles came up with this concept; I know I’ve heard it a few times. It’s kind of one of those things you ‘get’ the idea of, and maybe even agree with a little and yet still roll your eyes at and don’t think about again.

I have a theory on this. I think it’s human nature to turn a bit of a blind eye to things that require some measure of change. Usually, this change involves (perceived) pain. In this case, if you decide to take seriously the ‘rule of 5’, you either have to accept that you may not be reaching your potential due in part to the things and people you surround yourself with, OR you have to get serious about changing your environment. Ouch.

According to Johnny B Truant, writing here for Copyblogger,

“Your weight is destined to become the average of the five people you’re around most. Your habits (smoking, drinking, etc.) will correlate with those folks. Your level of marital satisfaction, of outside friendship, of ability to play the 1990s video game Street Fighter? All are tied to some degree to those of your peers.”

What’s your take on this? Do you agree? Disagree? Not sure? Before you make up your mind, let’s consider something slightly less painful than linking your physical shape and fitness to that of your friends or associates. How about your moods? Your motivation? Your determination to create your dream career – or life? In my experience it’s true that the most powerful element in any group tends to prevail. For example, if you spend much of your time surrounded with people who talk negatively about money, your perception (and therefore reality) will likely end up inline with theirs. I know that when I hang out with people whose businesses are at more of a starting point than mine I find it tougher to motivate myself toward new goals. This is one reason I make an effort to attend training days and networking days with big-name bloggers (for example). It forces me to question myself and rise above.

I’ll give you another example. A couple of weeks ago, one of my telecoaching clients popped in to pick up something from me. We were chatting a little about motivation, and how tough it can be to apply everything I talk about in the telecoaching program. My advice to her was to focus only on progress, not on doing everything overnight. The main thing, I said, is that you can look back over the past 6 months, or even the past few weeks, and know that you’ve made positive change. No-one said it’s meant to be easy to do everything it takes to be in great shape, right?

Well. Her response was that it is for me. But here’s the thing. It’s not necessarily that it’s easy for me to follow my own advice, although I do so most of the time. I put that partly down to years of habit, and certainly I’m highly motivated by maintaining my physical fitness and appearance, but there’s also the fact that I work with 30+ personal trainers, most of whom are in great shape, and all of whom can be found sitting around at 7am in the staff room on one day or another eating meat and green veg for breakfast. All of whom workout every day, sometimes twice a day. And yes, we party hard when we party, but 80% or more of the time we are walking the talk. I can’t even begin to imagine how tough I would find it to eat well and be healthy if everyone I worked with or spent most of my time with, was sitting around living on a diet of junkfood/grains and maybe hitting the gym once or twice a week. Peer pressure affects me as much as it does anyone else; I’m just lucky enough to have some great peers!

In the article I linked to above, Johnny goes on to say this:

“The truth is that we humans are pack animals, and the need for acceptance and love is hard-wired deep in our brains. People like people that they resemble, so getting that acceptance and love almost always means practicing some degree — at least on a subconscious level — of conformity.”

So tell me this. Who is your pack? And be brutally honest? Are you sinking to their level, or are you working together (deliberately or not) as a group to create the lives you’d love to live? And do you care enough to change anything?

PS – yes, I think my gang is pretty hot! I admit it 🙂

10 responses to “How Hot Are Your Friends? And Why You Should Care.”

  1. martin says:

    Brilliant post Kat.
    I have only just been talking about this with my friend in the last week. We both like to surround ourselves with people who energise us and build us up. We find negative, mediocre people mentally and then physically draining.
    I train 6-7 days every week and always give 100% to whatever session I’m doing. What I’m finding and it’s frustrating is that many people treat a training session as a chore, something they just have to ‘get through’ so they can get on with the rest of their lives.
    On the contrary I see training sessions as an opportunity to have some fun and get in touch with my body to tune it up as part of an overall wellness plan.
    I’m at loss right now because I don’t have a ‘group of five’ to hang out with and encourage each other. I seem to be surrounded by mediocrity and people who dare not try and push themselves or accept someone who is a little different.

    • Kat says:

      It sounds like you need to explore for some new motivation pals Martin! Maybe try a studio or a class environment?

      • martin says:

        indeed! Your post has had a profound effect on me today. I need to rejig my ‘gang of five’

      • martin says:

        oh, and yes, I have tried group exercise and I love it. Especially Paul’s Body Attack at FF in Melbourne Central on a Monday night (shameless plug) Seriously though, Paul and a core group of participants there are so motivating and always push me to my best. It’s a pity I only get to experience it when I travel to Melbourne.
        My lament is that my local gym and the Body Combat, Body Attack classes there just do not have the same level of energy and mutual motivational psyche.
        My PT always pushes me to my best performance, she’s been away OS and I miss her and can’t wait till she returns.

      • Kat says:

        Sounds like you are at least partly on the right track Martin – keep up the good work!

  2. Talitha Natt says:

    Sooooooooooo true! Love the article Kat and I also love the pic!! I really agree with everything stated as I have noticed since working in the gym with you and the ‘crew’ I have noticed a significant change in my personal goals, motivations and values. 18 months ago, you wouldn’t find me training the way I do now, eating the way I do and generally taking care of my ‘temple’, the way I do now. Why? Because 18 months ago I wasn’t surrounded with the amazing people that I am surrounded with on a daily basis now and there is no doubt in saying that due to my environment changing and the friendships I have made – I have become a better, well rounded, healthier person! Woooo!

    Looking forward to seeing you when you are back.

    The team misses you!!

  3. Helena says:

    I love this article as it applies to all areas of life. So true!

  4. Anita says:

    I agree. I was speaking with my partner about this last night. Also last night I went over to a friends place and my friend started having ago at another friend that is doing Bikram yoga and eating organic. It makes me feel ashamed that I am also giving those things ago just that I dont tell anyone because all that comes from my friends in negativity. I think it is time for a change of group!

    • Kat says:

      Sounds like it sure, or even just start chatting to people at Bikram? Its such a friendly community! I guarantee people will respond, especially if you go to Fitzroy.