There is a popular saying: “No man is an island.” We are a product of our environment, which to a great extent, is made up of the people surrounding us. These include family, friends, colleagues, and others. Many of our unconscious habits are caught rather than taught. Just as we will likely catch a cold after spending time with someone who has a cold, we also “catch” thinking
patterns and habits from those we associate with closely.

While our success may depend on those whom we surround ourselves with, it may also depend on those that we do not have around us. If we are constantly surrounded by those who are small-minded, they may hinder us from going after big dreams and reaching our fullest potential in life. However, associating with big-minded people has a way of elevating our thinking and pushing us to go for more in life.

Who we spend most of our time with has a considerable impact on the dreams and goals we will
achieve. If we are constantly around people who are negative and unmotivated, over time we
will also become negative and unmotivated. Like other things we do, we must be very
intentional about our associations.

There’s a true-life story about a man who changed his fortunes after deciding to change his associations. One day, he took some time to examine his closest friends. He noticed that they all hated hard work and were unmotivated to improve their lot in life. He happened to meet a millionaire who was not much more educated than him and so he asked him how he had become a millionaire.

The millionaire told him that his secret was summed up in one sentence: “Keep the right company.” The man decided to begin keeping company with people who wanted more out of their lives by attending conferences to network with such people. Once he started connecting with motivated, goal-oriented people, he decided to make two lists. One list included the names of the people who would improve his life and the second list included those who would drag him down.

Once he had his lists, he began limiting his interactions with those on the “drag down” list to no more than five minutes per time, while he increased his interaction time with those on the “improve life” list to as much time as possible. Within three (3) years, he became a millionaire. The late motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Call to action: Who are the top five people you spend the most time with? On a scale of 1-10, how motivated and goal-oriented are your five closest friends? Create two lists – one with names of those who will improve your life and one with the names of those who will drag you down. How will you use these lists to intentionally make changes to your associations?