“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” 

In some form or the other we’ve all heard some version of this idea. What it reveals is essentially true. You are an amalgamation of the behaviours, habits, lifestyles and opinions of those you are most often surrounded by. Not much to dispute.

But when taking into account the constant stream of content that we place ourselves in front of, and the overload of information and opinions we absorb from the internet, it starts to become clear, that at least 2 of those 5 people who used to be our friends or family, are now commentators, influencers and personalities from the internet. The 5 people we spend most of our time with, have become the 5 channels, podcasts and accounts we spend most of our time consuming.

Now, this isn’t inherently a bad thing. We all have to get information from somewhere, and due to the evolution of the way in which information is delivered, it’s inevitable that we would construct much of our worldview, behaviour and lifestyle based on those digital sources.

But that’s where things get tricky. It’s easy to think that we’re merely consuming content and the way in which we perceive, digest and incorporate it, is entirely up to us, but just take a moment to think about the 5 sources of content you spend most of your time consuming and you will undoubtedly see the effect it has had on your thoughts, behaviours and opinions, consciously or unconsciously.

One problem with the fact that you are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with, is that you aren’t always in control of who you are surrounded by.

But, you are in full control of the content you consume and how much of it you consume! If what primarily influences us has changed from being the people around us to the media we consume, then it’s a huge advantage that we get to dictate what that content is! 

There might still be situations where we’re excessively influenced by the content we consume even if we’re extremely cautious about the sources, so some things we can do to ensure we remain authentic and individual during this era of excess consumption can be:

Develop your own opinions. When exploring cultural or political topics, the process of forming our opinions becomes a sacred journey, entwined with the wisdom gleaned from theological principles. By approaching the development of our opinions through such a lens, we honor the sacred gift of discernment bestowed upon us. In the intricate dance between our convictions and the world’s cacophony, our thoughts must be a reflection of divine wisdom, contributing to a more informed and holistic understanding of the complexities that surround us. 

In our journey, even as positive content leaves its imprint, it is imperative not to exalt a media personality to a plane beyond scrutiny. Wisdom encourages a nuanced approach, inviting us to engage in respectful disagreement, especially when confronted with perspectives that diverge from our deeply held convictions.

The guiding principle confronts us with a fundamental choice – conformity or individuality. Opting for conformity entails allowing our lives to unfold as if flipping through a book written by someone else. Conversely, holding strong to core values and beliefs, dictated by wisdom, makes us co-authors of a life that syncs with the grand weaver of all life.


Written by Ben Joshua