I once listened to an audio tape of a motivational guru, Jim Rohn, on the power of association. I’m utterly compelled to share Jim Rohn with you verbatim.
“One of the keys to success often overlooked is people with whom we’ve chosen to associate everyday often unconsciously and decisions, attitudes and actions are influenced by the decisions, attitudes and actions of those with whom we spend the greatest amount of our time.
One of the crucial elements of exceptional life involves the careful analysis of how we’re affected by our associations of others. If you’ve to evaluate the major influences in your life, the person you’re becoming, this has to be high on the list the people you choose to allow into your life.
Never underestimate the power of influence, what an important statement! The influence of those around us is so powerful; many times we even don’t realize we’re being strongly influenced because it generally develops over an extended period of time. Peer pressure is specifically the powerful formal influence because it’s is so subtle, if you’re around people who spend dollars they make; chances are excellent that you also spend dollars you make. If you’re around people who go to ball game concerts, chances are excellent that you do the same. If you’re around people who don’t read many books chances are excellent you won’t read many books. People around us can keep nudging us off course a little overtime until finally ten years from now we find ourselves finally asking how I got here.
Those subtle influences need to be studied carefully if we want our life the way we’ve planned. Now on this major point let me put forward three questions to ask. This may help you to make better analysis of current associations.
Here’s the first question. Who am I around?
Good question. Make a mental study of the major people with whom you most often associate. You got to evaluate everybody who’s within the circle of being able to influence you. So major question who am I around?
Next question. What’re they doing to me? That’s the major question to ask.
What’ve they got me doing?
What’ve they got me listening to?
What’ve they got me reading?
Where’ve they got me going?
What’ve they got me thinking?
How’ve they got me talking?
How’ve they got me feeling?
What’ve they got me saying?
You just got to have to make a serious study of how they’re influencing you negatively and positively.
Now may be the influence of all those around you is okay but just ask yourself, who am I around and what’re they doing to me?
Now here’s the final question.
Is that okay?
May be the people you associate with, their collective influence is okay but again may be it’s not.
All I’m saying is that you’ve to take closer and objective look. Everything is worth the second look, especially the power of influence.
Positive influence can have an incredible effect on your life. But so can negative influence. Both will take you somewhere. But only one will take you to the direction you’ve chosen to go. It’s so easy just to dismiss the things.
The man says I live here but I don’t think it matters. I’m around these people but I don’t think I get hurt. I’ll take another look at that. I’ve got a good phrase at you. ‘Everything Matters’. Now show something matters more than others. But everything matters. Everything weighs something. So you got to keep checking to find out whether associations are tipping the scales to positive or towards negative. It doesn’t hurt to look right. Ignorance is never the best policy. Finding out is the best policy.
Remember the objective of all this is to say that time of kidding myself is over. I really want to know what’ve I become and what I’m becoming. I want to know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. What has power over me? What’s influencing me? What I’ve allowed to affect my life.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a little bird. He’d a wing over his eyes and he was crying. The Alice said to the little bird, you’re crying. Yes, said the little bird and he pulled his wing from his eyes. Oh, I see. You’re crying because the little bird pecked up your eyes. And the little bird said, No. I’m not crying because the little bird pecked up my eyes. I’m crying because I let him.
Hey, it’s easy to let influence shape our lives; to let associations determine our directions; to let persuasions overwhelm us; to let tide take us; to let pressures make us. The big question is: Are we letting ourselves to become what we wish to become.
In this most important subject of associations, here are some actions you may want to take.
You may, after the study of three basic questions, who I’m around, what’re they doing to me, and is that okay, come to serious conclusion that there’re some people that you just have to break away from. I’m not saying that it’s an easy step to take and it’s not easy to be taken lightly. However I’m saying may be an essential task. You just have to make that hard choice not to let certain negative influences affect you any more. Remember, it could be a choice to save your quality of life. The second action you may want to take is Limited Association.
It could well be you’re spending too much time in certain area of your life with certain group of people. It’s easy to put time and effort in a wrong place. The guy spends three hours in the ball game and thirty minutes to listening to the sermon. See, that’s called out of balance. 30 minutes for spirituality and three hours for entertainment that doesn’t weigh well five years from now, ten years from now. You’ve to take a look at some of the values of your life. Here it’s easy way to end up with the mediocre people spending major time on minor things. Sophisticated people learn to weigh everything they spend time or money. You’ve got to weigh before you pay. Where are you going to spend your heavy time or light time? Just got to weigh otherwise you’ll get trapped spending heavy weight time with the light weight people. It’s okay to have casual friends as long as you give them casual time not a serious time. Spend major time with major influences and minor time with minor influences. It’s so easy to do just the opposite but don’t let yourself fall in that trap. So may be you need to change some of the influences of your life, it’s not to eliminate them. But merely limit them. Say I’ve good time with these people but I’m not going to spend days and days with them any more. I’m just going to cut that down and save time for major people and major enterprises. Remember, it’s your life. You may spend your time with whom you may want and wherever you want but you didn’t invest in this program to make me kid you. Take a look at your priorities and values; we’ve so little time at our disposal. Won’t it make sense to invest it wisely? If you’ve only 100 $ in your pocket, it’s okay to spend 20 for fun and 80 towards your major values and commitment. But would you be happy to reverse those percentages? Better to put majority of your money where you know it’ll bring profit rather than to put where taste is brief and results are poor. Of course, you must be the judge whether the situation calls for disassociation or limited association but remember it’s not taking you where you want to be five years from now, ten years from now. Now is the time to fix it. The third process that I strongly suggest is that I call Expanded Association. And that’s spending more time with the right people, people of substance, people who understand philosophy and discipline, people of accomplishments, people of character.
If you truly wish to be successful, you got to get around the right people. Don’t join the easy crowd. Go where the demands are high. Go where expectations are high; where spotlight is on to grow, to produce and to become more that you currently are.”