#GrowWise. “You Are The Average of The Five People You Spend the Most Time With.”


January 13, 2015

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Proverbs 13:20 (read the whole chapter)

Walk with the wise and become wise,
    for a companion of fools suffers harm.


walk with the wise

The late Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and author, coined a phrase that practically captures today’s focus text.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” 

Said another way, ‘You become like who you are around.”

The classic cliche translation: “Birds of a feather flock together.”

We tell our children not to hang around with the “wrong crowd.”

“A person is known by the company they keep,” is yet another way of saying it. 

So who are they; the five people you spend the most time with? 

Consider it from another angle. Who would put you on the list of the five people they spend the most time with?

How about your spouse? That one cuts both ways doesn’t it. Are you a wiser person as a result of time spent with your spouse? Is your spouse a wiser person as a result of time spent with you?

What about your co-workers? Do the people you most commonly associate with at work raise the level of wisdom in your life, or do they lower the bar? Work can so easily become a place fraught with circles of negativity, idle chatter and even gossip. Now consider your own ways of “being” at work. As Dale Carneige wisely said, “Anyone can criticize, condemn and complain and most people do.”

How about your friends? Do they raise the wisdom quotient in your life or lower it? And what is your impact on the wisdom quotient of your friends?

What about books? What are you reading? Henry Ward Beecher said, “A book is good company. It is full of conversation without loquacity. It comes to your longing with full instruction, but pursues you never.”

Last and most importantly, what about Jesus? Would he make your list. Emmanuel does mean God with us, but the better question is am I with him. Am I pursuing him in the sacred texts of Scripture? Am I keeping company with him in the midst of my fears and anxieties? Am I seeking his constant companionship through the gift of the Holy Spirit?

And am I keeping company with others who keep company with him? Wouldn’t that make the greatest gift to another person; to keep company with Jesus such that when I am with them, there is a sense in which they are also with him? That’s who I want to be with, and it’s who I want to be.

And you?

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” 13:20.

I’ll see you tomorrow in Proverbs 14.


J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.


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