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You are the sum of your nearest and, not necessarily, dearest

The sum of five people

Who do you spend the most time with? Take the top five in your world, consider the effect they have on you and whether they’re brightening your day or casting shadows upon it.

Late American entrepreneur Jim Rohn proposed the notion, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Those five who feature most prominently in your day-to-day life, with or without your blessing, are moulding the shape of “you”.

When the idea was first proposed to me, I realised I had much to be grateful for because at this point in life, I consider my life to be coloured with various shades of rosy thanks largely to my support crew. While I think we are shaped primarily by our own interpretation of the world, the people we surround ourselves with can either strengthen or brighten this vision or cast shadows upon it. If you shudder at the thought of some of those who you share the most oxygen with, I don’t think it’s all bad news either (you are not your boss, or your mum… necessarily).

My day typically begins with one of the two small people I brought into this world demanding attention. One gallops into the parental bedroom as though she’d knocked back an espresso upon rising. She greets us with a hearty “Good morning, it’s a beautiful day!” regardless of whether the defining factor of “day” (aka the sun) is up to confirm the beautiful status. While “exhausted” is a regular word popping out of my mouth when asked to define my current status, my children have molded me in more ways than the shape of my eye bags.

Mindfulness is a buzzword these days. Being present and soaking up the moment is what all the cool kids are doing (when they’re not posting about it to Instagram anyway #sorelaxedrightnow #butpleaselikemypost). Being with my children is a constant reminder to take in all the experiences of the current moment. Their little faces are constantly admiring the world’s beauty with no time to worry about the past or future. It’s easier to abandon rushing from one place to another and literally smell the roses, spot the kookaburra wildly cackling in the trees and when hunger or thirst strikes one must simply eat or drink. Right. Now.

My next closest is a massive shift as I go from children who notice and feel everything to a husband who glides through life avoiding trivial details. Small things simply aren’t worth worrying about and his head is gloriously filled with one purpose at one time always. Multi-tasking is against his religion and he dedicates absolute precision to the task at hand. Probably why it’s been researched that husbands only listen to 25 percent of what their wives say (and that’s on a good day, natch). Annoying maybe (“I told you that weeks ago” is met with blank stare), but not taking on board the small stuff and only allowing the big stuff to take on your worthy focus? There’s something to it.

The remaining positions are shared between my support network of parents, fellow mums and running buddies. When I’m not sharing my own view of the world with them, I’m keenly observing their take on it and plucking pearls of wisdom left, right and centre. From my own Mum’s commitment to routine (despite retirement, she has a packed schedule and the reminder to have regular anchors throughout the week that bring about normality when life is crazy makes good sense) to my mummy friends with endless patience and snack supplies, they’re constant sources of inspiration on better ways to do things.

So, whoever the five people are that you grace with the majority of your presence, there’ll be moments where you despair of them and want to put yourself in time out (lock the toilet door, breathe and count to ten… that’s better). But if you hone in on the golden moments and what makes them shine, a little of that will rub off on you. And when you add that up? Well, the sum of you is looking pretty incredible.

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