In the realm of “life truths” and spiritual wisdom, one of the common ones I hear over and over is that you’re the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with.
This is totally partially true, and something I can mostly agree with. However, like the law of attraction, being in the moment, or any of the wonderful teachings that have broached into the world of general platitudes, it can have a dark side.
“I’m a successful artist so I’m only going to surround myself with other artists more successful than me!”
“Now that I make over 500k a year, I’m only hanging out with other people “of money”.
“I only feel comfortable being around other’s that believe in multiculturalism.”
You are absolutely the “average” of the five people you mostly surround yourself with.
However, you are also the “average” of the five people you don’t.
Such as people that have different spiritual beliefs than you, are from different economic classes or cultural backgrounds than you, never left that hometown you grew up in, or don’t give a shit how successful you are.
Spiritual cults, celebrity entourages, fascist regimes, warlord tribes – they’re all the dangerous result of homogenized perspectives. When everyone around you thinks the same as you, or has a vested interest in your success, it’s so much easier to veer off course and for general “shittiness” to be normalized. Countless atrocities, deaths, and abuses, both big and small, can come from such setups.
So yes, spend a lot of time around the five people that reflect who you and and who you want to be most dearly.
But also, spend time with five people that are the antithesis of all that – and can keep conflicting and contradictory information and perspectives flowing into your world and aren’t willing to call out destructive bullshit when they see it.
Evolution thrives on diversity, collisions and interactions.
Corruption thrives on stagnation, uniformity, and separateness.
Have your five, yes, but also have that tribe that will call out your shit and isn’t afraid to disagree with you and helps you continually relate your bubble of values to reality.
Build a team of allies, but don’t leave out your team of rivals.