“The simple but true fact is that you become like those with whom you most closely associate — for the good and the bad.”

— John Mason

Think about your tribe for a moment. Your tribe is the group of people that you have chosen to spend most of your time with, the people that you feel most connected to and supported by. Your tribe might include a spouse or partner, family, friends, or coworkers. But your relationship with all of them goes deeper than simple acquaintance. Your tribe is the five (or so) people that you spend the most time with.

Do the members of your tribe have the qualities you want?

Each member of your tribe does not have to be exactly like you, or even exactly like you want to be. But the truth is that we become like the people we spend the most time with. So if the members of your tribe have a quality or habit that you admire, you will have an easier time adopting it. If they are opposed to that trait or habit, it will be harder for you to change.

Think about an example. Many people want to eat healthier. It’s one of the most common goals. But if you are surrounded by people who say, “It’s Monday, let’s go out for dinner,” and “It’s Wednesday, let’s go out for dinner,” and “It’s Friday, let’s have cookies and ice cream,” it will be harder for you to achieve the goal of eating healthy. You want to spend time with your people, so you’ll go along with them. And then they are choosing foods you might be trying to avoid and are missing, so it will be hard to resist.

You can be different from the people in your tribe and you are, but you are influenced by the people around you. Their philosophy and approach will affect you and what you are able to do.

This doesn’t apply only to food. Over time we begin to talk like our friends. That can be wonderful if we have friends who treat everyone around them with kindness and take an interest in others’ doings. But it can be a bad thing if we have friends who are critical, judgmental, or constantly sarcastic.

As you think about the people you spend time with and whether you want to be influenced by them, think also about the friend that you are being. Are you the tribe member that everyone will want to be influenced by?

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