A well documented concept about how our environment shapes who we are. What we see colours our vision - the perception we have of ourselves and others, and ultimately how we choose to present ourselves to the world.
Jim Rohn, an early mentor to Tony Robbins, famously said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend time with.” (I would broadly agree, however I do believe that one person can have a major impact on you even if you just meet them once.)
So it should follow, that if the people you surround yourself with exhibit behaviours or do things that inspire you, have a range of experiences and a positive outlook, a little bit of that will rub off and start to shape you as a person. But the converse is also true.
What if you are surrounded, maybe unbeknownst to you, by those who have a more limited outlook? Maybe those who have followed a specific path or who have less then positive experiences. It does not imply that this is wholly negative, but it does mean that a little piece of that is likely to affect you.
Typically people we know have some duty of care for us - they want the best for us. However it can sometimes mean that they steer us away from areas where perhaps they have failed in the past and towards where they have been successful. We respect these people, so we listen and are maybe vicariously cautious / optimistic rather than looking at the reasons behind the successes and failures to see whether we, as individuals, could drive a different outcome.
I guess the first step is being conscious that we may be different; realising that any advice we get is coming from a place of care and need not be an edict. The second, sometimes more sensitive part, is trying to have a discussion about why things may have failed for them so that you can learn and perhaps keep those options open for yourself.
This of course depends on the nature of the relationship, and that they do inherently want the best for you. This unfortunately is not always the case and a trigger to change your 'environment'- which could be, for example, a circle of friends or work colleagues. If its someone very close to you, this could mean resetting and changing the relationship with them. Not easy.
The key is to be conscious of yourself and your surroundings...
Be selective with what you take as fact and what you take as a cautionary tail
Differentiate the experiences of others from the possibilities for yourself
Be open to as many people / environments as possible and find your 'five' (or more!)
And most importantly, be aware of you and your talents, so that you recognise the things that can help you along the way and make those nuggets a part of your armoury.