Do your peeps build you up or bring you down?


Most people are aware of the times when the people around them are giving them energy or sucking their energy. Extroverts are particularly sensitive to this because they tend to derive energy from their environment.

What is more subtle is the influence that the people around us have on our thoughts and actions.

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

At an early age I noticed that regardless of the strength of my values and convictions, over time I tended to emulate the thoughts and behaviors of those around me. If I hung around whiners, I would eventually start to complain more about things myself. If I hung around people who lacked integrity or told stories about others I’d get drawn into that type of behavior. If I hung around with smokers, I smoked (yeah, I said that, jeepers!). It’s not that I simply copied my environment or that I wasn’t my own person, it’s just that those around me had a big impact on me if I spent enough time with them.

The opposite was also true for me. When I hung around confident, happy people, I tended to be in a better mood myself.

When I realized all of this was happening (sometime around my late teens and early twenties), I consciously chose to spend more time with positive people who radiated energy and less time with people who didn’t live the way I wanted to live myself.

“Our choice of people to associate with, both personally and business-wise, is one of the most important choices you make. If you associate with turkeys, you will never fly with the eagles.” ~ Brian Tracy

Stepping away from people that are close to you is not always easy to do and I recall being ostracized a bit at the time for being less available. This only served to confirm I was making the right choice.

I don’t ruthlessly judge people on whether they can add to my life or not, because I like all sorts of people and get a kick out of spending time with many different sorts, but over the years I have gravitated to spending the majority of my time alongside people with integrity, courage, compassion, love to share, enthusiasm and passion for life.

Right now the people closest to me include the following folks:

  • my wife Chay (her blog here >> )
  • my two daughters
  • business partner and close friend, Brent Thomson
  • mastermind group which includes some of my closest friends
  • my brother, parents and family
  • some amazing people I have met and become good friends with over at the entheos community

Each one of these people are unique and wonderful in their own right and I am truly blessed to have these people in my life.  I seek ways to be around them. I embrace them, I learn from them, I am inspired by them, I build off of their success and happiness and I share energy with them.  Most of all, I know they make me a better person.

So that’s my story on how I have been affected by those around me. The people around us don’t make us who we are, but they certainly are a big factor. Next time you are thinking about creating the life you want, stop and reflect on how the people around you are drawing you towards the life you want. No doubt your journey and destination will be that much better.


Life is Good.

  • the wife

    Love this article! A+ :-)

  • Eliot Burdett

    Thanks to my #1 fan.

  • Eliot Burdett

    Russ. Really appreciate the kind words and great to hear your thoughts. You might be right about why you are connecting with some and not others. I’d pay attention to that and see I it I consistent. As an half introvert half extrovert I can relate to needing the time alone. Enjoy your journey of discovery! Eliot

  • Eliot Burdett

    Russ. Really appreciate the kind words and great to hear your thoughts. You might be right about why you are connecting with some and not others. I’d pay attention to that and see I it I consistent. As an half introvert half extrovert I can relate to needing the time alone. Enjoy your journey of discovery! Eliot

  • Russ

    I really like this post. I am a lot the same in that I tend to pick up behaviors from those around me, which is becoming problematic for me since at the office the focus tends to revolve around complaining rather than finding solutions. And I’ve been becoming more consciously aware of how this affects me outside of work and am trying to take steps to remedy it. 

    Your comment about it affecting extroverts more got me thinking though. I am actually an introvert, and in typical introvert fashion, I really enjoy connecting with small groups rather than large groups. But additionally, I find it hard to make solid connections with people. I now wonder if this giving and taking energy is partially what is at play when these connections are made or not made. For example, I have a lot of acquaintances, but very few people who I would consider close friends. Now I wonder if this energy balance is part of what helps me decide if I should let the person in. Perhaps subconsciously if it seems that the person may not help build me up, I dismiss them and don’t let them into the inner circle. When I think about it, a lot of the people who are my acquaintances but not friends are great in small doses, but wouldn’t necessarily add value or build me on a regular basis.

    Very interesting to think about, great post!

  • King Author

    We all have to take heed to who we hang around with. It’s best to hang out with people pick up where you lack. SO if your shy, hang around an extremely confident person all the time and you will become confident just like them over time. If your hanging out with a loser, hang around winners. No point in hanging around people that add to your strength, but hang around those who can pick up where YOU lack. When you do this, you become stronger, so strong, you see in vincible to the MASSES! 

  • Eliot Burdett

    Jonathan, you are living consciously. Thanks for sharing.

  • Eliot Burdett

    Dawn,Thanks for writing from the heart. What you have gone through is not easy at all. I am sometimes torn about dis-associating with people who need me more than I need them. In the end it all depends on whether there is a positive or negative cycle in the relationship and as you pointed out, sometimes you just have to move on. I hope you are finding peace. Eliot

  • JC

    Love this post Eliot! I’ve had a recent experience of someone who really triggered me and made me feel very *funky* so I had to make the decision to sever our friendship. Now I’m being perceived as being the ‘bad guy’ which is kinda funny and ultimately validates my decision!!! As we used to say in the North (UK), ‘there’s nowt so funny as folk’!!

  • Eliot Burdett

    JC – I thought the Northerners said By gum before everything 😉 ( In Watford we’d react to toxic friends by saying it’s time for a rifle range). I have been in your situation and seen that cycle of validation. Thanks for dropping by.

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