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You are the Aggregate of the Five People You Most Associate With

There's an old adage that states "you are the company you keep." The gist is that the people we spend the most time with and are closest to have an outsized influence on the person we become. Their behaviors, mindsets and attitudes rub off on us, consciously or not.

This principle explains why it's so crucial to carefully choose our inner circle. If we surround ourselves with driven, thoughtful individuals who bring out the best in us, we'll be lifted higher. Their positivity and work ethic will motivate us to maximize our potential. However, keeping company with those mired in negativity and pessimism can drag us down to their level. Their toxicity spreads insidiously.

This is especially important for young people still developing their identity and decision-making skills. Falling in with the wrong crowd can send teens down the wrong path before they realize the consequences. But surrounding youth with uplifting mentors and peers teaches them positive values and keeps them on track.

Even as adults we continue to be shaped by those we confide in. Having friends and colleagues who are hungry for excellence pushes us to step up our game and achieve more. Their high standards inspire us to reach new heights. On the flip side, spending time with constant complainers and critics saps our drive and confidence. We begin to doubt ourselves.

If you feel someone in your inner circle is hindering your growth, it may be time to re-evaluate the friendship. Reduce contact with consistently negative influences in order to clear space for more positive relationships. Be picky about who you let into your life. The company you keep determines the direction you're heading. Choose wisely.

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