“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn
Its an interesting thought experiment to stop and consider how much influence other people have on your behaviors, your world view, and what you believe is possible. I’m not sure the scientific validity of that quote, but it certainly seems to make sense. When I am around people who encourage me, who help me believe that I have the potential to do great things, I live bigger. When I’m surrounded by people who don’t take risks, who avoid conflict, and who try to do as little as possible, I live small. I’ve been in communities from both sides of that equation, but I know I’m drawn to the ones that inspire me and help me.
But, what about those people who don’t have access to inspiring communities, who don’t have people encouraging them in their lives? I am deeply sympathetic to that situation, because it wasn’t long ago that I was there, feeling alone and isolated. I have found that reading can help immensely. The act of reading allows you to inhabit the thoughts of other people, to be exposed to world-views and gain a life time’s worth of experience in just a few hours. But, it’s not just reading that’s important – its equally important to wrestle with the ideas you are consuming, asking yourself how you want to incorporate it into your life (or reject it), and then try to make the changes you want. We make the idea real (and deepen the learning), by living it out.
I think this is one of the greatest gifts from the blogging world. We have access to people’s lives and stories from around the world, with so many different backgrounds and directions in life. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can find a community of bloggers doing that to follow. If you want to be a professional musician/photographer/writer, there are communities supporting that. If you want to be a circus performer, same thing. If you want to be a great dad, there are on-line communities dedicated to supporting the pursuit of a new definition of fatherhood.
Books are also a fertile source of inspiration and ideas. I love having the excuse to write up my experience of a book, and wrestle with the ideas through the process of writing (that’s a personal preference, you make like another format for putting your learning out). I’ve grown so much since starting my blog and forcing myself to dig into what I really believe, and what do I want to achieve, and making small steps to move in those directions.
The act of creating helps cement ideas into yourself. It’s helpful to be surrounded by people who support and encourage that (it’s really hard to keep up the effort when you are surrounded by negativity – we are all good at making enough for ourselves we don’t need other people to amplify it). We need new ideas and better communities to be better parents – to be able to experience the vulnerability of sharing the things we have created, knowing that we have grown simply from the act of creation itself and demonstrating that behavior to our children so that they know they can participate too.
It would be great to hear from you: What are you reading that is inspiring you? ,