Will Smith? Jim Rohn? Tim Ferriss? Jack Canfield? Janet Switzer? Daniel G. Amen? Loral Langemeier? Keith Cunningham? Ty Talcott? Scott Elliott? Paula Owens? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: You are deeply influenced by the actions and behaviors of your friends and companions. You consciously and unconsciously imitate what you perceive in your local environment. The following adage encapsulates this viewpoint. Here are four versions:
(1) You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
(2) Your life is going to be a reflection of the five people that you spend the most time with.
(3) You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.
(4) We become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most.
Would you please explore the provenance of this saying?
Quote Investigator: The earliest close match located by QI appeared in the 2005 book “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer. Canfield is best known for co-creating the best-selling self-help series “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. The saying appeared as a chapter epigraph crediting entrepreneur and motivational author Jim Rohn. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:2007 (2005 Copyright), The Success Principles by Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer, Principle 25: Drop Out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club…and Surround Yourself with Successful People, … Continue reading
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Self-made millionaire and successful author
The statement attributed to Rohn followed a circuitous route:
When Tim Ferriss was 12 years old, an unidentified caller left the above Jim Rohn quote on his answering machine. It changed his life forever. For days, he couldn’t get the idea out of his mind. At only 12 years of age, Tim recognized that the kids he was hanging out with were not the ones he wanted influencing his future.
Thus, a lengthy chain produced the attribution. Canfield learned of the saying from Ferriss who heard the saying from an unidentified person who credited Rohn.
Tim Ferriss was born in 1977, and he is best known for the self-help book “The 4-Hour Workweek”. Ferriss heard the quotation circa 1989 when he was 12 years old. QI tentatively credits Rohn with the saying although the current evidence is weak, and QI believes the saying evolved over time.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||2007 (2005 Copyright), The Success Principles by Jack Canfield with Janet Switzer, Principle 25: Drop Out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club…and Surround Yourself with Successful People, (Chapter epigraph), Quote Page 189, William Morrow: An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York. (Verified with scans)|