The Power of Association

May 22, 2019 | Personal Development

I’m sure you can think of people you grew up with from middle school, high school and even college, that for whatever reason, didn’t go down the best path. Or, if you’re a younger person, maybe you’ve seen it happen to your elders – family, friends, or friends of your parents. While these groups of people grew up together, with similar backgrounds, some have gone on to be successful, healthy and happy. Others, have not. What do you think lies at the root of those differences? What causes people from mutual social circles to end up on such divergent paths?

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your decisions.

Every day, we are faced with choices. While each small selection may seem minor in the moment, the entirety of those decisions can change the outcome of your day. Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months. Before you know it, those small daily choices determined the direction of your year. If you break down the difference in (seemingly small) choices over a decade, you’ll realize they do compound over time. Repeated decisions create habits, and habits go on to form mentalities. That’s a powerful thought. But what holds the greatest influence on our everyday choices? Association.

A Harvard psychologist named David McClelland, conducted a thirty year study on the power of influence. He concluded: the people you habitually interact with determine as much as ninety-five percent of your success or failure in life.

You level up based on who you spend the most time with. If your goal is advancement, upgrade in association first. When trying to decide who will be a good influence in your life, think logically. If you want to improve your financial situation, don’t take advice from people you wouldn’t trade lives with financially. Similarly, don’t take marriage advice from someone who has endured multiple divorces. Don’t take debt consolidation advice from those who are drowning in unpaid bills. Instead, seek out people who’ve achieved mastery in the area you wish to develop. As tempting as it is to stay in your comfort zone and only consult your inner circle, come to terms with the fact that discomfort is a precursor for growth. If you want to be exceptional, think differently. Be open to diving into environments filled with positivity and growth. Realize that your fate is not confined to your current circumstances. Think bigger.

If you find you are starting to grow in areas and are thinking differently than friends, congratulations. There’s no reason to be ashamed of wanting to do better for yourself. Openly declare those big dreams.  Be honest enough to admit you want more out of life, and be motivated enough to do something about it. Don’t let others make you feel your dreams are silly or unrealistic. Accept the idea that not everyone will immediately understand or approve of your next move.  Hold your head high and refuse to allow small dreamers to limit your potential.

It is never too late to turn your life around. You own the freedom to decide who you associate with. Take hold of the reigns and choose who your biggest influencers are going to be. Seek mentorship and coaching. Listen to wise people. Read helpful literature. Pursue your opportunities, chase your dreams and watch your confidence grow. Walking in life with the right people will lead you to the right path. Change won’t happen overnight, but as you are on your way to building a better life, you are going to learn so much. The things you put in your mind and the people you surround yourself with has so much to do with where you will end up in life.  Have patience. Trust the process. Stay loyal. You have what it takes to Make It Happen!


  1. Isaac Fineman

    Fantastic content as always. Your information is not only inspiring, it’s ACTIONABLE! I love your last line of the blog, “you have what it takes to ‘Make it Happen’!”

  2. Marlena Landry

    Awesome nuggets!! Thank you !! “DISCOMFORT IS THE PRECURSOR FOR GROWTH”!! Let that sink in for me as I want to grow!! Need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!! Freedom!

  3. Linda Tennies

    Timely message. Thank you!

  4. Adrienne Stokley

    So thankful for the opportunity to associate with people who are winning in LIFE! I get challenged to “level up” all the time.


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