Be Careful Who You Invite into Your Life
Who influences you? Who are the people that guide your decisions and inform your perspectives? We must be careful who we let into this most critical mental space of our lives, for if we are unwise in who we let shape our sensibilities, we risk letting others guide us down the wrong path.
That’s why we must seek positive influences.
You may have heard the thought-provoking quote, often attributed to Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The corollary to this is “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” My take on this concept is, “Who you hang out with will shape who you become.”
The Ripple Effect
If we’re influenced by the five people closest to us, then we must acknowledge that each one of them faces the impact of the five people closest to them.
That means we’re directly affected by five people and indirectly affected, albeit not to the same degree, by twenty-five more, some of whom we may not even know.
Allow this ripple of interpersonal impact to expand one more level and we find 125 more who influence the people who influence the people who influence us. If this seems far-fetched, studies confirm a connection.
While some may quibble with the details, few will dismiss the impact that others have on our lives, be it positive influences or negative. We must be careful who we let in, who we keep at a distance, and who we need to avoid.
This doesn’t mean we should ignore people with struggles or who focus on what is contrary to our life’s mission, but we should exercise restraint and how much access we provide to them.
Scrutinize Who Impacts Your Life
This is one reason I stopped listening to the news and scaled way back on social media. Read more about this in my post on toxic environments. There’s so much negativity in both these destinations, which I don’t want in my life. I’m wise to push those influences aside.
That’s why we should look for who we can invite into our life. We can start by considering people with traits we respect. Beyond that we should evaluate our entertainment choices: the books we read, the shows we watch, and the places we go.
This idea of influence also applies to the church we attend. Are the people there uplifting, or do they pull us down? If we leave church discouraged or need time to mentally decompress from the experience, we may be better off to seek an alternate Sunday destination.
Beyond church, who influences you spiritually? Does anything need to change? May we surround ourselves with those who present us with positive influences.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.