“What did you just say?” My brother exclaimed.
“What?” I asked, not looking up from the books I was arranging.
I was home from school for the mid semester break. My mom and my kid brother were in my room, helping me arrange some books.
We had been talking about random things when I subconsciously blurted out a phrase in Nigerian pidgin English (Pidgin is an adulterated form of English mostly spoken by locals in Nigeria).
“You just spoke pidgin perfectly” My brother replied.
“Yes, you did” my mum answered.
“Wow” I was speechless.
Speaking pidgin is not a norm in my house. My father is particularly against any form of vernacular. We only got to start learning our own local dialect when we had passed our formative years. So hearing me speak pidgin was a big deal.
That night, I reminisced on what happened during the day and realized that I had been influenced.
Let me explain.
When my school is in session, I stay on the campus, in the hostel where I have about 5 roommates.
Now, speaking pidgin is a norm in my room and my roommates are flawless at it.
Most times when a conversation is going on in the room, I am usually the only one who sticks to normal English because I don’t speak pidgin well. But as time passed, I became accustomed to hearing them speak it, that I started getting good at it. It was so bad that I even began to think to myself in pidgin sometimes.
Recently, I’ve been learning powerfully on the power of the company one keeps. Your company greatly influences your life and destiny.
My closest friend in class made me realize this. I have subconsciously imbibed countless traits from her that I didn’t notice early. Thankfully, they were virtues and not vices.
Similarly I hear her say and do some things that I do frequently which she didn’t do before.
“You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with,” – Jim Rohn.
You must have found yourself at one time or the other speaking like your best friend, your roommate or your classmate. Maybe you even caught yourself using the words or slangs they use.
This is why; Your life mercilessly reflects the people you spend the most time with.
No matter how much you hate a person’s habit, if you consistently stay within the jurisdiction of that person’s influence, you will pick up a trait or two from them.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
When you spend time with people, you begin to speak, act and talk like them. This is the simple explanation for we being able to identify people from specific geographical locations; their togetherness for years created a pattern and a lifestyle (what we call culture) that everybody within the confines of that place adapts to.
Why did I stress all of this?
“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
There are certain factors that are nonnegotiable for success.
Success has a protocol and certain habits that we imbibe from people around, are repellants to it.
In places like offices, classrooms, business places and so on you may not have complete control over the people you spend time with, so you may find yourself spending a huge chunk of your time with the wrong people. In cases like this, you must be conscious about what part of them gets into you and spend any spare time you have with better people.
In many cases however, we’re at liberty to choose who we spend a bulk of our time with but because we’re yet to understand the gravity of their impact and influence in our lives, we’re careless about it.
Make a decision today, to be intentional about who you spend your time with.
Do not hang around people who you do not want to be and act like.
Instead, spend quality time with people of character and virtue and in no time, you’ll find yourself evolving. That’s why we spend time with God; so we can look and be like Him.
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.
Charlie Tremendous Jones
Greatness is contagious. Failure is too.
Choose ye this day who you will become.