How important are our associations? I would argue that they are critical for our personal and professional growth. An association is defined as a “group of individuals who voluntarily enter into an agreement to accomplish a purpose”. Voluntarily means that we consciously choose to associate with a specific group. I firmly believe that the 5-7 people we spend the most time with will have the greatest influence on how we think, behave and react to the world around us. Several years ago, I took part in an extensive research project. This project was focused around behavioral psychology. I rented an apartment in an economically challenged section of a major metropolitan city. I lived in this area for nine months. With very few exceptions, the majority of my interactions over that nine month period of time were with people who I would characterize as highly “street smart”. After just a few short months I found myself relating to and taking on many of the characteristic behaviors inherent to the members of my new community. My language began to change, my physical mannerisms began to change, my mindset began to change and I began to gradually “fit into” this particular culture. Upon my departure nine months later, I had become a recognizably different person. My re-entry into my regular circle of influence was initially awkward at best. As I began spending more and more time around higher achievers, something interesting started to happen. I began to connect with the characteristics common to this particular group. My language changed, my physical mannerisms changed, my mindset changed and I began to gradually “fit back into” this particular culture.
The above story illustrates the POWER of our associations and the impact that they can have on our lives. We are ALL influenced by the people we spend our time WITH and the environments that we spend our time IN. If we desire to enjoy a higher level of happiness and success, we are well advised to start taking a closer look at our current associations. Who are the 5-7 people that we spend the most time with? What are their values and beliefs? Are they high achievers or are they chronic underachievers? Are they goal driven or blame driven? Do they look for solutions to their “problems” or do they seek out others who they can commiserate with to keep their “problems” alive? It is important to align ourselves with people and groups that are uplifting and that add value to our life. For example, if your goal is to become a millionaire, it would be a great idea to seek out and start spending time around millionaires. Find out what their beliefs and strategies are for creating wealth. Begin “modeling” their behavior, mannerisms, physiology and language. Remember, the mind doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction, it simply processes the information you feed it. If you desire to EXPAND your world, you must first expand your circle of influence. A mind expanded will never return to its original size. I have never met a truly successful person who was unwilling to share their success strategies with a curious student! SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES….Become a detective!
I encourage you to set aside some quiet time, designed to take a closer look at your current reality. Are you currently living out your greatest dreams and aspirations? Where do you envision yourself being one year from now? THINK BIG! This vision should include your health, personal relationships, economics, business or career. Will your current circle of influence support the personal growth necessary to undertake and manifest your vision? What changes in associations are needed to realize your vision? These may be some of the most important questions that you will ever ask yourself. Growth can be very challenging and it will more often than not require a high degree of sacrifice. Changing our associations can truly help us take our game to the next level.
To your success!!! I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.