You’ve no doubt heard some version of the quote from motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Given the findings on social influence from Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, the truth is probably closer to, “you are the average of all the people you surround yourself with.”
The implication being, those around us have a significant effect on our attitudes, our behavior, and our results.
Our external environment presses upon our internal environment, which, in turn, directs our attention and actions—a kind of feedback loop that creates and reinforces microculture.
The same kind of idea applies to how we think about things. The quality of your life is the average of what frame you use to think about desire.
Do you let desire rise and dissipate, choosing instead to appreciate what you have, or do you let it linger to dwell on what you lack?
Gratitude broadens awareness and focuses attention on the positive. Even if your life is rife with hardship, gratitude can fill you with an abundance of joy and memories of a life well-lived.
Cultivating gratitude—and the benefits that incur—happens slowly, so practice regularly.
- Keep a gratitude journal and reflect daily.
- Write thank you letters to those you appreciate (studies suggest it works even if you don’t send them).
- Meditate on loving-kindness.
- Stop and take multiple points of view in any situation.
- Become a silver lining detective.
- Take walks in nature and appreciate beauty regularly.