Surround Yourself With SUCCESS
By Clark Faint
I once heard from some random wise source that you as a person are basically the sum of every other person you’ve ever met. This idea is nothing new and I’ve found on many levels how true it really is. I’d be willing to bet that the level of success of your health, wealth, and relationships are directly attributable to the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think about it! If you are rich, successful, healthy, and have tons of great relationships in your life then this is probably no mystery to you. If you aren’t doing as well in these categories and you have a friend that’s sick all the time, a broke or unsuccessful friend that is doing absolutely nothing to improve his/her situation, a friend who is terrible with people, and/or a combination of these in your top five then it’s time to reexamine your current situation!
I’ve had several epiphanies throughout my life about this phenomenon. The first time I somewhat realized it was when I came home to hang out with family and friends after being in the Air Force for a few years. All my friends and much of my family were doing the same old things they had been doing when I left. Many of them were worse off! A few were doing well or better than when I left but I couldn’t really tell you about the friends that aren’t there any more because they are probably the really successful ones who have moved on! In any case, during my interactions with them and throughout the course of all my time spent at home since then I can just sense a difference in myself as I relate to them. I have (and continue to have) life experiences that put me in a position to be much more successful than they are. It’s not that they aren’t capable of success on their own, but that they are either a) content with staying where they are in life or b) settling for what they’ve got and letting their potential go to waste. I still have love, respect, and care for all of my friends. Deep down, however, I know that many of them will stay in the same place they are in for the rest of their lives because they will not make the slightest behavioral changes to get to where they need to go. The level of discipline, responsibility, the constant travel, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and overall just gaining experiences from my time in the Air Force and on my own puts me at a huge advantage over many of the people I grew up with. Not to sound condescending, but I feel that I am much more successful and will continue to be than the majority of my old friends for the rest of my life.
Now what about a situation where I was thrust into a group of people who were much more successful in business and life than me? If you’ve read my post about my visit to the Playboy Mansion, it’s obvious that I was a spectator among a great deal of VERY SUCCESSFUL people there. There were many millionaires and multi-millionaires there spread out among many walks of life: actors, professional athletes, writers, models, internet marketers, musicians, and many more. This experience had me in awe at the time. In retrospect, I use it for motivation. In fact I use just about every successful person I come in contact with for motivation whether I meet them personally or not. Remember at the beginning when I said you are a combination of everybody you ever meet? Take that literally. If you have the opportunity to meet someone who has the kind of success you would like to have even a fraction of, enjoy the moment and possibly try to learn a little something from them right then and there. I have had the opportunity to meet quite a few celebrities and if the opportunity presents itself, I try to learn something from each of them. One of my favorite things to ask someone who I would like to emulate in some way is “In two seconds right now, what’s the best piece of advice you can give me about (thing you are most curious about)?”
I’ve gotten many jewels from quite a few successful people this way that I’m sure will go on to serve me well for the rest of my life. Remember “small-chunking” it? Consider it a mini-modeling session.
You don’t have to be out schmoozing with celebrities to take advantage of this though. You can get a much more intimate and prolonged mentoring session by picking up autobiographies or just studying facts about those you admire and who have attained the kind of success you want for yourself. Take time to reflect on the things you read and let them really soak in. What traits make this successful person successful? How can you incorporate that into your routine? Don’t just think about it either. Do it! Make a conscious effort to emulate success.
Another thing to consider is your friends and the company you keep. Do they bring you up and enable you to maintain/grow the level of success you are having now? Or are they content with mediocrity and just want to stay in their rung at the bottom of the ladder? I’m willing to bet that you have more than one friend in your top five that fits the latter description. I know I have had that problem at many times during my life and yes it is a problem. As your success grows you will grow as well and vice versa. Some friends just can’t deal with it.
One of my best friends from back home hung out with me for a week recently and he was really on hard times. I took him out with me around parts of Baltimore and Maryland, which is a much bigger scene than he’s used to. I interacted with people and acted much more assertively and confidently than I’m sure he ever remembers me being when we were younger. At the end of our time together, he was telling me how much I had changed and how it seems like I’m not even the same guy he grew up with. I took that as a compliment. I tried my best to give him some advice he could possibly turn his life around with but as usual I could tell it was going in one ear and out the other. Now I still care for my friend and he could call me any time. But in many respects I’ve cut ties with this guy because he will take away from my success and drag me down in the opposite direction with him. It’s just like when someone is drowning and you have to be very careful about how you approach them to save their life because they will just be so panicked they will drag you both down under the water to a certain death. The point here is to not get dragged under the level of success by a friend who is drowning in failure.
The same thing applies when you are dealing with VERY successful people. You have to realize that they are successful for a reason and if you are going to try to learn something from them, it had better be a very important and well thought out question. This is some insight you want to get from this person that you can’t get just by your own study. These are the kind of people who you want to keep company and counsel with in order to reach their level of success. You don’t want to be the drowning victim who they won’t save because you’ll take you both under, so present yourself accordingly. Take the advice they give you and apply it and use what works and toss what doesn’t, as with any information you use to enrich your life.
One stereotype that I hear a lot of people cast on rich and/or successful people is that “the money changed them”. I don’t think that’s true at all. It all comes back to personal growth. Once they have experienced a level of success far above the people they’ve known, they realize they will have to be around people who have similar drives, goals, objectives, and motivation in order to maintain that success and propel it even higher. This is as true for the small business owner you know down the street as it is for the A-list actor.
This post can be concluded with a few points:
1. Pursue relationships with and learn from the kind of people who have the success you want to have. This may sometimes mean leaving behind friendships so you can gain new ones. This doesn’t mean forgetting about your friends or being too good to talk to or hang out with them any more. It does mean spending more time working on yourself and learning from new mentors and in all likelihood less time with your regular circle of friends.
2. If you have a friend who wants your counsel or advice to get to where you are, GIVE IT TO THEM! But only if you judge them to have the drive and commitment that will get them to a level of success that you can also benefit from them in return.
3. Don’t feel insulted or miffed if your friends comment or complain that you have changed or are changing. Take this as a compliment! They notice your personal growth. This can inspire intimidation or jealousy among some of your less secure friends. It comes with the territory. Don’t hesitate to explain to them the path you are on, but ONLY if they ask. A true friend will not judge you or ask you to stop your train on the fast track to success and you would be foolish to let them do so.
4. Be a value-giver and not a value-taker. Even when you are learning something from a mentor, if you are attentive and ask inquisitive questions you are probably teaching them something just as much you are learning by giving them new insights and perspectives they had not previously considered.
5. Don’t EVER be jealous of another person’s success. Be inspired and motivated by it and use it as an example to learn from and fuel your own success.
Copyright © 2008 by Clark Faint
Personal Development: Better Health, Wealth, and Relationships for Life™
Clark Faint is extremely motivated in improving every facet of his life and he wants the same for you. He was in the Air Force for 7 years, being fortunate enough to gain many new skills and travel to exotic international locations. He also did a danger-filled tour in Iraq. Now that he has moved on to life after the service, he’s pursuing his passion of writing about personal development techniques that offer VALUE and improve his life so that you can use them to improve yours as well. Clark has read many good books, met many awesome people, partied at the Playboy mansion in Hollywood, and even just sat at home on the weekend to meditate. Clark is just a down-to-earth guy who believes in living an awesome life and helping others.