You Are The Average Of The Five - Intelligent Lazy Blog

You Are The Average Of The Five

The well-known yet little-understood quote by Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is taking its toll. Even Tim Ferriss would print that on his billboard. Surely, we become better by taking what’s best from the best. So you might be thinking what is wrong with surrounding yourself with people you would like to learn from? Nothing is wrong with it, as long as you are aware of the one major drawback; you will never be yourself.

He That Lives With The Wolves

It’s not a secret that we like to be around people that we like, hence people will spend their time with us as long as they like us back. Consequently, we need to behave like a little version of them: the old saying goes “he that lives with the wolves learns to howl”. Even if it only lasts for a moment we go into a character, playing a role. And maintaining more than one process at the time—yourself and the character—costs energy.

Furthermore, we take the good and the bad as there isn’t one without another. Just in case you thought that successful people are flawless: they also have limitations. It’s your responsibility to take only what you consciously choose and that requires awareness. Self-awareness.

But here is the problem: if you are the average of five, can you be truly self-aware?

I mean, that self you are aware of, is it truly your self? I would risk the hypothesis that self-awareness that we like to talk about really is a collective-blindness. Therefore, we are only aware of ourselves in the context, in relation, and in comparison to others. There’s no us without others; we are all one, big pile of a human.

The truth is that people will tell you who you are. They will keep themselves busy by judging your life situation, serving you advice about what to do or telling you off for misbehaving. Reflect for a moment or two, and ask yourself whether what you do, you do for yourself or for others to recognize you?  To put that differently, can you be silent about your success?

That’s a trap that most of the people fall into. We strive for success but only other people—especially our five—can tell us that we're successful. The five becomes our measure and the score always going to be average. Yet I still believe in the human race and our exceptionality as individuals. We just need to take some time to find ourselves.

Gnoti Seauton - Know Thyself

know thyself

These Greek words were inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This simple clue means that before you ask any other question you need to ask this fundamental one. Who am I? As you can imagine it’s quite a challenge to answer considering the amount of information we are being bombarded with every day.

The solution is simple as always. You need some time in solitude, thus, instead of socializing, cut yourself off and go to the forest. Not only physically but mentally as well. Stop thinking about success, and think how to expand your perception. Because if you won’t expand your perception your intelligence will work against you. Besides, being lazy requires some allies and there’s no better ally than your inner intelligence.


Spend some time on your own and focus on expanding your perception. Look for the answers within.

Martin May

Managing Director at Intelligent and Lazy Management Consulting. Coach, trainer, blogger. "How we say it is more important than what we say"

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