Think of the five people in your life whom you spend most of your time with. Now assign a number to each person from 1-10 based on the influence that they have on you, with 10 being the most positive influence possible.

Calculate your average by adding up these five numbers and dividing them by 5.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” said the late American entrepeneur Jim Rohn.

Think carefully about your five closest friends. Those five friends are who you are.

Among these five people, is there anyone who brings out the best in you? Someone who is always pushing you to excel and achieve and succeed in life?

A sign of these people is that if you even think of them, let alone spend ten minutes in their company, you immediately feel positive feelings of exhilaration. Even the thought of them in their absence uplifts you.

If you live among high achievers, their company alone will make you push yourself to succeed. If these are your friends, you will not want to be left behind while they succeed.

On the other hand, are there any negative people among the five people you spend most of your time with? Someone who is never happy with life, someone who is always complaining about something or someone?

A sign of these people is that you dread their company because their presence makes you feel heavy. Spending time with them drains you of all your positive energy, ambition and dreams.

Negative people always try to kill your dreams. Because they can’t do something themselves, they tell others not to do it as well.

One of my favourite movies of all time is The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith. It tells the true story of Chris Gardner, a homeless African American man who struggled to bring up his toddler son alone in 1980s San Francisco.

The movie, released in 2006, won an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

In a powerful scene from the movie, Will Smith’s character is shooting a basketball into hoops with his five year old son. His son tells him that he wants to be a great basketball player when he grows up.

Will Smith tells his son that he is always going to be below average in basketball because he, the boy’s father, was also below average. The face of the son drops, dejected, then he loses all interest in playing with the ball.

Will Smith immediately realises his blunder so, in one of the movie’s most iconic quotes, he says to his son:


If you are ever in need of some inspiration and direction in your life, or are struggling, then watch this movie and show it to your children.

Negative people spread fear, anxiety, ingratitude… They kill ambitions, they kill dreams. Their sentences frequently begin with the words, “What if…?”

If you want to succeed in life, cut negative people out of your life. If that is not possible, then minimise the time you spend with them so that their influence on you is minimal.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said:

“A man follows the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”

Religion does not just mean creed or faith. It means lifestyle.

If your closest friends are cowards, you too will become a coward. If your closest friends smoke, you too will begin to smoke.

If your closest friends physically or psychologically abuse their wives (or husbands) you too will soon begin to do the same.

And if your closest friends live their lives doing deeds that lead people to Hell, you too will soon start doing those same deeds.

Ambition, success and positivity are infectious qualities that spread to those around them. In the same way, pessimism, failure and negativity are contagious diseases that spread to those around them.

So whatever you want in life, surround yourself with people who have those things and you will get them.

Good character, generosity, courage, control of anger, ambition, success, dreams, healthy lifestyle, piety … whatever you want, surround yourself with people who have it and you too will soon acquire it.

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