People Change, too. Actions, Information, and People Change You
It is said that you completely change every seven years. What does that mean?
David Burkus says, “You’re not the average of the FIVE people you surround with. It’s way bigger than that. You’re the average of all the people who surround you. So take a look around and make sure you’re in the right surroundings.”
Your environment determines who you are now, but more importantly, it determines who you become. People are just one part of what changes you.
I’m going to talk about someone who has been in the news a lot lately and is a household name.
I read his biography about a year and a half ago. I loved it. I learned a lot and was inspired. I read his biography and developed great admiration. Wow, I thought, this is someone I could see myself becoming like.
His roots. He started off without much money. Now, he has houses in California, Washington, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York.
His family. He started off with money and a personal brand, after being based in New York, but, his new company, Amazon, was tiny and not well-known.
His money. Professionally, he has been well-off for a while, but he has not always been the wealthiest person in the world.
It was recently and still is in the news that Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos are splitting. Wow.
I was shocked.
I guess that he has really changed over the years. They were married for 25 years. That means that there were nearly four 7-year cycles.
Moving from Seattle to all of those other places also, what actions were they partaking in? What information are they attaining? What company were they surrounding themselves with?
We all know what the lifestyle of Beverly Hills is like in contrast with many other cities in the United States. Did the rapid change and increase in lifestyle quality cause the marriage to fail? I can’t speak for that. What I can speak on are the changes that people undergo.
7 years ago, I was 14. I was shy, I didn’t voice my opinion, and I was not very confident in myself, especially around others.
7 years later, at 21, I share my opinion when it has value, I am confident and believe that with God, I can do anything and everything that He empowers me to do, and, around others, I thrive.
Those changes and others did not happen overnight.
The people I spent time with, changed. The things I spent time doing, changed.
My thought is, this world is always in motion.
Everything is moving.
The earth is spinning.
People are aging, reproducing, working, sleeping, eating, etc.
Personally, we are always growing. We are always improving. We are always changing.
Whether we grow positively or negatively, is up to us.
Whether we improve positively or negatively, is up to us.
Whether we change positively or negatively, is up to us.
A huge part of the way that we grow, improve, and change, is our environment.
Think about the five closest people to you, what do they do, what do they think, what do they say, what do they care about, that you also do, think, say, or care about?
Chances are, there are a fair amount of things that are similar, if not the same.
On Sunday, I said the 3 aspects of change are time, effort, and focus.
Today, what changes us?
The actions that we partake in. The books we read. The company we keep.
That is what pushes us forward, or pulls us back.
The 3 things I say that change YOU are, the actions you do, the information you attain, and the people you spend time with.
I keep this very front of mind, at a deeply personal level. I love this quote from Emilia Clarke:
“My father always said, ‘Never trust anyone whose TV is bigger than their bookshelf’ — so I make sure I read.” — Emilia Clarke
The actions I partake in are constantly part of my reflection and evaluation. I recently started playing minor league football. I don’t get paid for it. I don’t play too much of the game right now. I spend time playing that could be used for other things. I could do something else.
But I don’t. I am having a lot of fun, I am improving my fitness, and I am finally revitalizing the love for American football that I have always had.
I spend time driving to and from various places. I choose to listen to audiobooks the majority of the time that I am driving. Now, I could be listening to music. I could be listening to nothing at all. I could listen to podcasts. I could call people on the phone. I could do something else.
But, I don’t. I am learning a lot and in an efficient way. I am “double-dipping” my time and doing a few things at once. By choosing to listen to audiobooks, I can affirm myself and my desire to grow through this action. This also ties into the second thing that changes you, the information you attain.
I also decide to read books, but, not just any books. I love the example that Jeff Olson includes in his book, The Slight Edge. He talks about a woman who shines shoes in an airport. This woman worked at the airport he frequented and he often saw her. During her breaks, she would read. However, many of the books that she read did not greatly benefit her.
I’m very careful about the information that I bring in and attain. The books I read should inspire, provide insight, and be mostly objective. That is what I desire. I don’t want to read books, especially on new topics, that are entirely subjective, I want to see both sides.
Rather than reading biographies, personal development, faith-based, or psychological books, I could be reading romantic comedies. I could be reading comic books. I could be reading lifestyle magazines. I could attain other information.
But, I don’t. I choose to read books that further myself. I know the direction I want to go in throughout life. I know how I want to grow so I choose to read biographies about people that inspire me, like Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Warren Buffet, Donald Driver, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and others. I choose to read the Bible and surround myself with information I want to be present and accessible within my mind.
Finally, who do I spend time with? I have a collection of mentors. I make an effort to spend time with them, people ahead of me, rather than just with peers at my university. I do have a handful of people I keep close to me, but I do not keep my circle large.
I could spend time with people who are negative. I could spend time with people who party all the time. I could spend time with people who do not exercise. I could spend time with people who live on Netflix or other streaming services. I could spend time with people who spend money rampantly and rack up debt. I could spend time with anyone.
But, I don’t. Gary Vaynerchuk had something very interesting that I read a few years ago. He actually “ranks” people’s importance and value in his life. I do that. I know who is most important in my life and who gets the most of my time. There are people I care about who are negative. But I know their limits. Is it a few days a month? A few minutes a day? I stay aware of that. The mentors that I’ve attracted to me encourage me, provide insight, share their wisdom, and more. I also keep a list of the 5 people I spend the most time with. To David Burkus’s point, I keep a conscious idea of the company that my closest people surround themselves with. Because, while I am becoming like them, they are becoming like the people around them.
Bringing it all together.
We all have different goals, different paths, different visions, different purposes.
We all need to think about how to attain what it is that we desire. We all need to think about where we want to go in life. We all need to think about who we want to become.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived the greatest street sweeper.’” — Martin Luther King Jr.