I was looking up a quote for my latest #WednesdayWisdom video, and I came across an article that had a lot to do with what I was thinking. I ended up reading some of the article in the video, but I wanted to comment on it here as well.

The article, written by David Burkus, argues that you are influenced not only by the five people you spend the most time with, but also by their friends, even if you don’t know them.

In one of his examples, Burkus states,

“If a friend of yours becomes obese, you yourself are 45 percent more likely than chance to gain weight over the next two to four years. More surprisingly, however, Christakis and Fowler found that if a friend of your friend becomes obese, your likelihood of gaining weight increases by about 20 percent — even if you don’t know that friend of a friend.”

They attribute it to the normal idea of what acceptable body weight is. If your friend is fat(ter) and their friends are fatter, then you will have a more acceptable social norm of being fat.

Interestingly, this is also true with smoking. And happiness.

I talk about it in my video, but I think Burkus sums it up brilliantly when he 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.”

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:20 that “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

We should all take a look at who we are spending time with and, if we are seeking to be wise, surround ourselves with wise people.