Your association determines your ascension. You cannot rise in life if you associate only with the non-committed and the non-ambitious. You are a true reflection of your friends. The people you entertain and tolerate in your life shape the direction of your life. If you look at all successful people, you realize that they are very CAUTIOUS about the people they allow into their lives.
Ordinary people see this as pride but I call it prudence. If your life is to remain positive, you should not hang around negative people. It is said that once life is shaped by the books you read and the people you hang around with.
Your association determines your ascension
The eagle is an interesting bird. It is said that eagles do not associate with other birds. The eagle flies at the top flight. If you meet a bird at the top flight, it has to be an eagle. Eagles do not flock. They are very mindful of this important aspect of life; association.
Eagles have a different mentality. They do not run away from a storm but rather soar in it. The eagle understands that if it flocks with pigeons or chicken, they will end up influencing the way she thinks. She has to associate with birds that love storms. The eagle does not scratch the ground like the chicken. She knows she is different and she belongs up there in the sky.
Your greatest problem is the people you associate with. They have managed to reduce you to their level and yet you are not of their level. Your greatest failure is your failure to change your association. You will never be a businessperson if all your friends are employees.
Never will you be a good spouse if all your friends are infidels and uncommitted to their partners. You will never be a good person if your friends are evil and desperately wicked. This is the reality in life. You need to identify with people that reflect that which you want to become.
The problem with many of us is that we have accepted to be LOCAL CHAMPIONS. We have a small achievement that we hold on to just because our friends are poor and miserable. If a person buys a Toyota car, they become proud and contented just because their friends are walking. Your friends will view you as a hero but in actual terms, you are very far from success.
You need to look up to people that challenge you. If you have conquered in your neighborhood, desire to conquer in your county. When you conquer in your county, desire to conquer in your country. If you have conquered in your country, desire to become a global figure.
There is always room for improvement. The higher you go, the higher the limit goes. You can achieve what has not been achieved. The fact that it has not been done does not mean that it cannot be done.
Local champions tend to focus on those people that are below them rather than those people that are ahead of them. They love the comfort and praises of the poor rather than the challenge of the great. In my country, there are few people who have written more books than I have.
However, this does not make me feel like I have achieved. I am always looking up to those people who have done more than I have. Myles Munroe wrote more than 60 books. T.D Jakes the same. Brian Tracy has more than 80 books. There are people in this world who have written more than 300 fiction books.
J.K. Rowling has sold millions and millions of her Harry Potter book series. I look at great books that have sold millions of copies like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Art of The Deal by Donald Trump, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and many more.
I do not want to look at those people who are below me because they will make me complacent and contented. Who is your standard? Is your standard below you to make you have a CHEAP sense of accomplishment or is your standard above you to make you more ambitious and challenged? When you answer these questions in your life, you are ready for a shift in your results.
You do not have to associate with people through friendship, you can also associate with them through other means. When you listen to a person speak, you are interacting with them. When you read a book by a certain author, like you are reading this book, you interact with them.
This makes it very easy to associate with people who you would never have the chance to meet one on one. In my life, I have listened to Les Brown, Eric Thomas and Myles Munroe speak that they have become my friends. I have never met them and I might never do but we interact by listening to their talks and reading their books. They are closer to me than my other friends.
This is the beauty of TECHNOLOGY. I can capture the mind of someone else even without getting closer to them. When you identify the kind of people you want to associate with, go on and look for their materials and sit down with them. Reading someone’s book is like reading their mind.
Listening to someone talk in a video or audiotape is like listening to them talk to you one on one. This means that no one can make an excuse. No matter where you come from, great friends are just a click or a book away from you.
You do not attract what you want but who you are. The friends a man attracts are a reflection of who he is. If you keep running into eagles, you are an eagle. When you keep running into pigeons, you are one of them. If you keep attracting broke friends, you are broke either financially or mentally.
The people you attract are exactly like you. It is therefore right to argue that for us to attract good friends, we have to become good. For us to attract ambitious friends, we have to become ambitious. For us to attract high achievers, our mindset and actions should show that we are exactly that. It is that simple.
I have noticed that the more I improve myself, the more I attract valuable people in my life. My phone book is full of contacts of CEOs, Directors, Managers, supervisors, and Leaders. This is not theory, it is a practical aspect of life. The more you change your mindset and your actions, the more you keep losing friends and gaining others.
This is not your fault, it is just how the universe is designed to work. When your mentality and actions become progressive, you attract friends who are making progress in life. If you become regressive in your thinking and actions, you attract dying friends; those that are dying financially, idea wise, health-wise and physically.
You do not attract what you want but who you are
Let’s do an activity. Check your contacts and identify the 5 friends that you added recently. Write them down on a plain piece of paper. Now do an in-depth analysis of their lives; whether they are progressing or stagnating, whether they are good or evil, whether they have integrity or not, whether you would love to be like them in various aspects or not. What do they do most of the time? Can you classify them as lazy or hardworking? Are they local champions or are they global thinkers? Ambitious or just complacent? Are they wealthy or poor? Do they love discussing ideas or people? Are they independent thinkers or sycophants? Do they love their family or they are just irresponsible? When was the last time you heard them challenging the status quo? Are they always talking of possibilities or negativities?
If the answers to these questions are negative, you are in a danger zone. That means you are flying too low. Now, consider the last 5 friends that left your life recently. Gauge them by the questions above. If the answers are positive, you need to change yourself. You are descending into the chicken’s zone. These questions should give you a clear picture of who you are.
Your friend’s list should be BALANCED. Let us consider the kind of friends you should have in your circle.
This is the first group of people that you should have in life. These are your age mates and people who have similar goals as you do. These peers should be ambitious and completely SOLD OUT to their visions. These are people who may not have achieved much but they are go-getters. They should not be people who are only talking about entertainment but education. They should be more of producers rather than consumers.
If you visit these friends, you should get copies of rugged books on their table or desk. They should be talking to you about the great ideas and concepts that they want to implement this year, should not be addicted to TV programs and should not be die-hards of any sports team. Though they are employed, they should have a side-business that they treasure and take care of.
These people are the best to hang out with. They should be your business partners and club peers. You should cling to them because they are hard to get. They are a rare breed and endangered spices on earth. I call them endangered because everybody is after discouraging and neutralizing them.
People who respect you
This is the second type of person you should have. These should be those people that see you as an ICON in life. They are those that will sing your praises, market your name and your products and even offer to work for you for free. They like to identify with you because they see your glorious future.
These people are selfless when they relate to you. They do not love you, they just respect who you are and what you do. Your relationship is more professional than social. You rarely talk and if you do, you maintain decorum in the conversation.
It takes 20 years to build such a reputation but only 5 seconds to destroy it.
When you do not have such people, you are flying too low. If your life is not ordinary, there should be people who have this kind of relationship with you. When you do not, there is nothing extra-ordinary in your life. They cannot see value in you.
People that rebuke you
This is another kind of relationship that you need. These are people who are not afraid of you. They are people who are free to tell you anything. My father has been this kind of person ever since. He has always rebuked me whenever he feels I want to go wrong. This is why I am who I am.
These kinds of people have a certain level of AUTHORITY over you. They may not be your parents but your friends. These people should know more than you do. They should probably be older than you. This person can be your husband or your spiritual leader.
Everyone should have this kind in their life. They keep us DISCIPLINED. When we are about to lose our way, their word of authority and counsel bring us back to the right track.
Never undermine such people. Always listen to them attentively. Let them have authority over you. Never make them lose that courage to correct you in any way. You don’t let them down by not acting on their advice but by not listening to them. Always listen to them. Accept it when they rebuke you and never show them defiance. It will ruin your relationship.
If you lose them, you will go wayward. If you are talented and gifted, hold on to this kind of person. Everybody will be singing your praises and no one will have the courage to tell you when you are wrong. No matter how you rise, take the rebuke with all humility and you will never fall.
People that have your best interest at heart
This kind is also very important. These are people who will SYMPATHIZE with you and give you a shoulder to cry on. They will always help you when you cry for help. They will give you money to start a business and bail you out when you are in dire need. These people will die to see you succeed.
They shower you with love and will not relent until they see you stable and settled in life. This does not mean that the other groups do not have your best interest at heart, it just means that these people go the extra mile to see you comfortable. They will sacrifice their time and resources for you. Even when you are in a scandal, they will defend you and stand by you.
This group mainly consists of parents and spouses, mostly women. Your wife or your mum might be the best example in this category in normal circumstances. My mum is certainly in this group. My fiancée is also here. They would do anything for me. They can sacrifice food to have me eat.
You relate with these people by genuinely appreciating them. Do not take their love for granted. Always treat them as important and do not take their help in vain. Always turn to them for help and they will be more than ready to help you. Their love is almost unconditional.
People that challenge you
These are people who are way ahead of you. When you think of what they have achieved, you become intimidated. You would certainly love to be like them. These are peers and age mates who have already achieved what you would love to achieve. They may be your leaders in the industry, your seniors in your career or those friends who ahead of you yet you grew up together.
Such people keep you challenged to work harder. They model the life you want. They leave trails for you to follow. These people may not be close friends. They may be celebrities or business and political leaders. You do not have to meet them. You only need to have access to their life and lifestyle through whatever means.
The best way to relate to these people is to keep reading their materials and researching what they have achieved and how they achieved you. Always keep a distance between you and them. Familiarity breeds contempt.
People that mentor you
These are people that act as your life coaches and teachers. They are way more knowledgeable than you in a certain area, have been through what you are going through, they know what you do not know and are willing to teach you. This is the difference between this kind and those that just challenge you. Those that challenge you are people you look up to for inspiration and motivation but the people that mentor you teach you what they know for you to grow and become like them.
The best way to relate to these people is to stick close to them, know their strengths and weaknesses, and learn how each has shaped their lives. Always listen to them because they have a lot to tell you.
If you decide to change your association and surround yourself with high achievers, your life will have a shift on all fronts. These people will bring a new breath into your life. You cannot be everything to yourself, you need others. All these groups have a role to play in your life to make you a balanced and stable human being. Always remember, your association determines your ascension.
Mark M. Gachunga is the CEO of Giimark Education and Publishers Limited, a professional speaker and author of 6 best-selling books including The Curse of Formal Education and Achieving The Impossible. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, youth matters, and leadership. Commune with him on Gachunga@giimark.com
Founder/ C.E.O- Wealthy Wolves Consulting & Giimark Ltd/ Best-selling Author/ Speaker.