Tony Edwards

You are the average

- 2 mins

It’s commonly held wisdom that:

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

Another way of phrasing the same sentiment is:

“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” - Unknown

And yet another way:

“Through others we become ourselves.” - Lev S. Vygotsky

All of these, in essence, are true. In my humble opinion, the people you spend time with naturally average out to become the baseline of your personality (for lack of a better word). This was especially true given the era these quotes are from. In person conversations were the norm with home telephones still being a luxury item out of reach for many.

Does the sentiment still apply today?

Through work and friendships, I get hang out with a lot of self identified geeks. Many of these fellow geekies might not spend a significant amount in the presence of others, when compared to the time spent interacting with other through screen based means. They’ll have physical people in their lives. However, it could be argued that those relationships might not fit into the context of those quotes.

So how do we reach their average?


“We are the average of our five biggest inputs” - *Tony Edwards”

Day to day, we all accept various input into our lives. It might be. . .

. . . to name but a few externals that play a part in our modern geeky lives.

But have you ever stopped to consider what these things do to our individual averages?

Globally, Android users spend 24 hours a month on YouTube. A whole day! Are the videos being watched educational and entertaining, or are they a time suck? Do they improve the average or detract from it?

Do you consume the news daily and swiftly take the learned rhetoric into both social media and your social circle? Ultimately, this causes more of the same rhetoric to filter into other areas of inputs. How does this affect our average? Negatively, I’d wager. I guess it depends on the average we’re individually happy with.

By focusing ourselves on the things that truly matter, we have an opportunity to shape our average in a very active way.

“Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.” Seneca the Younger - Letter VII: On crowds (Moral Letters to Lucilius)

When you’re considering how to spend your time today, take a moment to consider how the parts of the whole are affecting your average.

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