“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”

*quickly logs on Facebook and purges half their friends list*

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

This makes intuitive sense, as the people you spend the most time with shape who you are, what you talk about, and which attitudes and behaviors you exhibit. Eventually, you begin to think as they think and behave as they behave.

As Darren Hardy writes in The Compound Effect:

“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”

We don’t know about you, but the fact that the people we associate with contribute to 95% of our success is a big deal. (Good thing we’re all achievers here). Your goals, dreams, and big ideas might require a different environment than the one in which you find yourself. Sometimes to achieve what’s in your heart, you have to get out of your current environment.

We can fool ourselves into thinking that we surround ourselves with people who have great habits. We think we can ignore qualities we don’t want and focus on the good habits we want to mimic. Nevertheless, we often end up picking up those bad habits.

A 2017 study out of Northwestern University found that sitting within 25 feet of a high performer at work improved an employee’s performance by 15 percent. Conversely, sitting within 25 feet of a low performer hurt their performance by 30 percent. 30 percent! Interesting that the negative has 2x the weight of the positive.

Emotions can even spread virtually. Another study, aptly titled “I’m Sad, You’re Sad,” found that if you are in a negative mood when you text your partner, they are likely to pick up on it and experience a lower mood state themselves. According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the same is true of Facebook posts. Emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger spread like wildfire on the platform. It’s also the books we read, the podcasts we listen to, and even the social accounts we follow (like Twitter…).

You’re shaping your reality and ultimately, your future by who you surround yourself with, follow online, books you read, and podcasts you listen to. What does your future look like? Think about what you want it to be and be mindful of who you’re following in-person and online.

Ask yourself: Who do I spend the most time with? Who are the people I most admire? Are those two groups one and the same?