I was grabbing breakfast with a very very good friend of mine and he asked me, “Have you ever heard of the ‘Rule of Five’?” Initially I thought of the Japanese lean manufacturing process started by Toyota that consisted of asking the question “Why?” five times. Here’s an example:

Why did you go to the movies last night?
     Because I wanted to hang out with my friends.
Why did you want to hang out with your friends?
     Because they are cool and fun to be with.
Why are they cool and fun to be with?
     Because they have pet pandas and play kazoos.
Why do they have pet pandas and play kazoos?
     Because they’re in a kazoo band that features pandas on guitar and piano every now and then.
Why are they in a kazoo band that features pandas on guitar and piano every now and then.
     I don’t know.

All this to prove that this process is intended to find the root of a question. Sorry for wasting 10 seconds of your life with pandas and kazoos because that unfortunately wasn’t what my friend was talking about.

The Rule of Five is that you are the average of the five people you are closest to. Think about that for a second… You are essentially a mix of the people you interact with most. It makes sense, but sometimes we overlook some of the simplest, least complex things in life.

Another way to look at it is to consider a way you creatively express yourself. Photography, painting, dance, sports, writing or even work. I personally love drumming. And as I was drumming on my steering wheel while driving I realized that there’s no such thing as pure creation or imagination when it comes to making up parts and just playing. Everything I play is either from something I heard, read from a piece of music, or was a combination of two or more previous things I already knew. We cannot create something from nothing.

And isn’t that how nature works? Everything is a byproduct of something else. 2+2=4, seed + water + sunlight = tree, and a Labrador + a Poodle = a Labradoodle. It never fails.

So think about what people you are imitating. You’re not just yourself, living a completely different lifestyle than those around you. It’s important to reflect and think about who you really are, because it’s in moments where you are stressed and unable to think that the true self comes out. Your true self being a mix of those closest to you.

So… Who’s in your five?

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