Skip to main content



There’s an old Jim Rohn proverb that’s been making the rounds again advising everybody that if they want to be successful, they need to drop their loser friends.

Jim Rohn was an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker who died in 2009. What he said was this:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Some people take Rohn’s advice to mean dump your old friends in favor of new, smarter, better friends.

Rohn is not alone in his “dump the losers in your life” advice.

Krissy Brady, writing on, warns that your loser friends will hold  you back from your full potential, make you feel like crap about yourself, negatively impact your reputation, bring out the worst in you, and dim the good things in your life. Get rid of them, she advises.

Others agree. Vaynermedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk CEO says you should “audit the seven to 10 people” around you. Author Steve Siebold claims “winners are attracted to winners,” and business adviser Kai Sato suggests you write down the five people you spend the most time with and give each a numerical value from 1-t0-10. The implication is clear. Dump the low-scorers.

I remain skeptical. Just play it out.

If you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, what does that mean? If you’re the dumb one of the six, the others have brought you up. If you’re the smart one, then the others have brought you down. No matter how you figure it, one of the six is the loser friend to the other five, so why are they going to associate with him?

My personal situation is that I don’t have any loser friends. I do have friends that have different opinions, ambitions, and values than mine, but they are not losers. We’re just different. In the best case, they lead me to re-evaluate some of my own opinions.

I value the differences.

There are losers out there – people who latch onto you and take and take, but never give back. But they seldom get to be my friends. And when they do, sooner or later (usually sooner) they expose themselves for whom they are.

So my issue isn’t with my friends. I like my friends just fine. My issue is with motivational folks like Jim Rohn, who have managed to gain fame and fortune by saying really stupid stuff.

George Lee Cunningham