The Gift of Your Time
Sometime in college, I read somewhere that your personality is the average of the five people you spend the most time around. It stuck with me. I never questioned the correctness of the quote. In my book, it doesn’t have to be accurate to be true.
But here’s the thing—it’s completely true. And accurate.
We like to think of the human brain as a computer, but it’s actually way cooler. It’s a living thing and it’s constantly changing. We will never fully understand it, so we can never totally optimize it. I’m grateful for that. If you solve all the mysteries of the universe, romance dies.
Anyway. The brain has about 86 billion neurons, each one forming thousands of connections with its neighbors. This network is spontaneous order in its purest form, constantly modified by each moment of your life.
Every single experience and interaction you have changes the structure of your brain. You form new connections, and those connections break, adjust, and get rerouted. The aftershock of these changes can be felt all the way down to your DNA, the instruction manual for your entire existence.
When you meet someone new, your brain changes. You learn their name, their face, the things they like. You want to remember these things, and in doing so, they become a part of you. When you meet a person for coffee, or dinner, you are gifting them the world’s tiniest piece of your identity.
What a wake-up call. We’re a mix of the genes we’ve been dealt, but we are also the sum of the decisions we make.
Who have you decided to spend your life around?