By Arel Moodie
Understanding the most critical factor to your child’s success: The Average of 5
It’s a very exciting time for many parents right now. Your child has finished another year of school. For many of you it means that your child has graduated from High School and is ready to embark onto the next phase of life on their own. You are filled with a lot of pride for this major milestone but then at some point a thought hits you like a blitzing NFL linebacker:
You realize that your little girl or little boy isn’t so little anymore and they are going to have to start making a lot of decisions that you will have no control or influence over. Will they be okay? Are they going to make the right decisions? And how can you know if they will make it or not?!?!
There is one pillar to a successful foundation that will allow you to easily gauge the chances of your child’s continued success. It’s the most important key to guarantee continued proper decision-making and staying out of trouble. In my new book, Your Starting Point For Student Success, we call this pillar of success “The Average of 5”
The Average of 5 states that we will become the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Hang around 5 knuckleheads, and no matter how good a person you are, you will become a knucklehead; hang around 5 millionaires and you will probably be one too. But this is nothing new to you is it? You already know the importance of how much your child’s friends influence them. How can you get them to realize this in a way that is real for them?
The proof is in the pudding, or I guess the GPA in this case. If you want to show your child how this is real, try this little exercise on for size and I guarantee you will be astounded.
1) Take out a piece of paper and have your child write down the names of the 5 friends he/she spends the most time with who are students.
2) Find out what each of their GPAs is and write them next to their names.
3) Add up all the GPAs, and then divide that sum by five.
4) The result? I bet that number is right around where your child’s GPA is.
This is just a little exercise to drive home the conversation of how results are truly affected by who someone is surrounded by.
When picking a group of friends it is important that your child understand to not just choose people they like but to also choose people who are supportive and who will challenge them to move forward in the right direction.
And here is something they need to know: it is okay to grow and realize that at some point the friends they have been around aren’t necessarily going to be the people who will continue to be around. This is especially true if they are going off to a new school away from home. Planting this seed in your child’s head before they leave the nest will prove to be very important. Having a conversation about The Average of 5 will allow them to look at their soon-to-be new circle of friends through a different, and hopefully more objective, lens.
But what should they look for?
When choosing friends the most important factor to your child’s continued success is making sure to avoid what I call “Energy Parasites” (or EP for short). These are the people that are in someone’s life and manage to suck your energy dry every time there is interaction with them. They are constantly negative, pessimistic and are quick to shoot down dreams. They are the people who, when told good news, are quick to find what is wrong with the situation, claiming that they are “realists,” not pessimists. When someone excitedly shares news about a new job with them, their first response is: “Well just make sure not to get fired like you did in your last job.” What a downer! We all have Energy Parasites in our lives; I bet you are picturing who this person in your life as well as your child’s life right now!
Having people around who constantly focus on what’s wrong will cause your child to never, I repeat: NEVER, reach their true potential.
So what is the best way for your child to deal with an energy parasite once they have been identified and pin-pointed? You certainly can’t just walk them into a room, a la Donald Trump and yell: “You’re Fired!”
Following are a few tips on how your child can start dropping the deadweight energy-sucking parasites from their life without committing social suicide. There is no single way for your child to start firing EPs from their life, but this one technique has been very helpful for many people, and I’m 100% confident it will work for them too.Here’s what you can tell your child (and you can use this as a script if you need to!):
[Name of your child here], instead of making it obvious you do not want to spend time with the EPs anymore (because that can be very socially awkward), simply choose to fill your time with activities that involve the people you want to be around and the activities that move you forward.
Here’s an example. You are ready to begin your journey to success, EP-Free, and you identify that being around people who can build your leadership skills will help you in your endeavors. So you can join a club that does community service on weekends. When your EPs invite you to do something foolish like drinking or smoking or hang out to just complain about how much life sucks, you can easily say, “I’d love to, but I have to be up in the morning to go volunteer at the soup kitchen. Hey, do you want to come with me?”
One of two things will happen. The EPs will change their attitude and want to be part of all of the new things you are doing, which could be the motivation they need to get their life in gear. Or they will stop hanging around you as much, and you will be free. This isn’t to say that you are better than them in any way, it’s just you making a conscious choice to push forward in the right direction in your life.
By the way, the reason you ask them to come with you is due to something called the law of reciprocity. Because you said no to them, by giving them a chance to reciprocate and say no to you, it allows you to turn someone down with no one’s feelings getting hurt.
I know deciding to fire people who are sucking the life out of you is definitely not the easiest choice to make, especially when the EP in your life might be a family member or a loved one (yeah, I know that one is rough). But remember, what’s hard is often what’s the most fulfilling.
I can tell you from personal experience, when I was in college I had to make some tough decisions about who I would hang around with and who I wouldn’t. I can tell you that choosing to start surrounding myself with people that are supportive and going places was one of the single best decisions I’ve made to get me where I am today.
From starting my first Internet company while in college, to traveling around the country speaking to students about success principles that actually work, I can tell you that who I surround myself with is still the single most important determining factor to the success I achieve, and the same will be true for your children. I guarantee it.
I’ll leave you with this final thought that is true for you as well as your children:
If you want to see yourself, look in the mirror, if you want to know yourself, look at your friends.
About the Author:
Arel Moodie is the author of the new book Your Starting Point For Student Success which finally explains the first 5 principles students must understand to start really creating success in life and in school. After starting his first successful company in college, he now travels around the country spreading his message of success at colleges and high schools. He has been featured in 3 books, USA Today, & Young Money Magazine. He also loves pugs and high-fives ☺
To find out more about his book visit http://www.startingpointbook.com.