We become the average of the five people we spend the most time interacting with. No matter how ambitious you are, it won’t last long if you spend your days surrounded by people who have no ambition whatsoever. Being surrounded by people that believe that realizing your dreams is impossible and you should just settle for whatever life brings you will effectively ensure you will become like them eventually.
The same goes for people who constantly complain about how unfair life is and think the world owes them. The people who constantly blame circumstances and other people for their lack of success. Their thinking will affect your sense of responsibility and eat away at your ability to take control of your life.
They say that birds of a kind flock together, but it´s more that birds of a flock become more alike. This is because we are highly social animals. We unconsciously assimilate the behavior and way of thinking of the people around us to help us fit in more. If you don´t consciously decide what kind of person you want to be and what kind of people to hang out with you are at the mercy of the people who you happen to hang out with.
Now this does not mean that you should shun people that display the personality traits you don´t want to assimilate or that they are bad people. The people are most likely nice, funny, and well meaning. However, mindset is highly contagious. Spending too much time with people who’s thinking doesn’t align with that which you really want to do with your life will sabotage your success. With success I mean the accomplishment of goals you’ve set for yourself. Spending too much time interacting with people who have a defeatist attitude will undermine your drive to make your dreams come true. You don´t have to shun those people, just limit the time you spend with them.
Now you might want to help the people around you by instilling a sense of ambition and get them to chase their dreams so they can live more fulfilling lives. This is a noble objective but it´s ineffective to do so while hanging out with them all the time. A better way is to limit the contact with the naysayers while you work on accomplishing your dreams. Once you have done so you can show them that it indeed was possible and even help them out to do a similar thing. But you need to get the order right. Otherwise you´ll be driving towards your goals at full throttle but with the breaks on at the same time. It will wear you out.
You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It might pay off to reconsider with who you spend most of your time. If you want to live a fulfilling life and chase your dreams be sure to choose people who are like minded. If you want to start a company spend time with others who have the same goal or are already running one. If you want to become a writer hang out with other writers. And if you want to go through life blaming the world for everything hang out with people who do so as well. It´s up to you.