They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. That whatever results or status you have in life or business is a result of your beliefs and values, which are influenced most by your 5 closest peers.
If you were to consider who these people would be for you, how are they influencing you?
Are they models of the health or success that you want for yourself?
Do they challenge you to think bigger or work harder?
What if they don’t? What do you do?
The Bible says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Prov. 27.17) But what if you’re the sharpest one of your peer group?
Do you ditch your peers and find new friends?
You may be saying to yourself “Yes, that’s what I have to do”. Maybe you’re not saying that out loud, but at least at an unconscious level, you know what’s best for your situation and the life you want to live. And even so, it’s not an easy answer. It’s hard to move away from people you care about, and who care about you. It’s hard to avoid people who are around you every day. And even if you could, it’s hard to find the people who will call you to be better, and trust them, and like them.
Napoleon Hill had a unique solution to this. Throughout his life he was able to spend quality time with many of the most powerful and successful men in America. But before any of that, he began the habit of spending quality time with his imaginary friends… or as he called it, his “Cabinet of Invisible Counselors.” These counselors included Edison, Lincoln, Napoleon, Ford, and Carnegie.
In Think & Grow Rich, Hill describes his process:
I would shut my eyes, and see, in my imagination, this group of men seated with me around my Council Table. Here I had no only an opportunity to sit among those whom I considered to be great, but I actually dominated the group, by serving as the Chairman.
By assembling this cabinet and meeting with them, he received advice, warnings, and ideas from the men he imagined talking to.
The point is not whether he actually received telepathic messages from the ether, but by pretending as if it was so, he received enormous benefits. And these intentional, imaginary relationships allowed him to form the habit of reshaping his own character by imitating theirs.
I’ve implemented this cabinet myself. I have a nice conference table in my mind where I meet with 8 men and women whom I admire for various reasons: Thomas Edison, Marcus Aurelius, and Mother Teresa, among others.
Sometimes I’ll close my eyes and sit at the head of the table and brainstorm with all of them. Each of my invisible counselors has a different perspective on life, family, business, etc. So when I sit at the table with them, I get 8 new ways of looking at something.
Sometimes I’ll invite one or two of them to join me in the car when I’m driving alone. I’ll call on the ones who seem best suited to help with whatever is on my mind, and we just chat, like friends.
It seems silly, but you know what? I’ve received some amazing advice, insight, and enlightenment from these conversations.
So I wonder, if you were to choose 5 people to invite to your table, living or dead, literal or fictional, who could be your new peers?
–note– Sometimes it really does help to have actual real-life people to talk to. For more on that, read here.