Has the “Law of Association” Been Repealed?


W. Clement Stone said, “Be careful the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will become like them.”

Our parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders always cautioned us about our associations. If my parents didn’t approve of someone I was hanging around with, they didn’t hesitate to let me know.

Some say we become like the (5) people we associate with most. We are influenced by them. We adopt their habits, behaviors, and opinions.

It’s called “The Law of Association,” but perhaps the word “tendency” would be more accurate than “law”.

If you spend most of your time around people who smoke or drink or have poor eating habits, does that mean you will adopt those habits? You might. But then through your example, you might be the one who influences them to clean up their act.

If your friends are all negative people who complain all the time and see the dark side of everything, it doesn’t mean you will become a negative person. Environment is important but it’s not everything.

But while the people we associate with may not change us, the right ones can expose us to better ideas and better opportunities.

If you associate with successful professionals and business executives, for example, you can gain insights into how they think. You can study what they do. You can model their behavior and their language. By watching them and by seeking their advice, you can learn how to avoid mistakes and improve your outcomes.

Successful people can also open doors for you. They can introduce you to prospective clients and referrals sources, help promote your practice, or point you towards profitable investments.

Who you know, and who you spend time with, does make a difference.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you do have a choice. You can choose to associate with positive people who inspire you and help you grow, and you can disassociate from people who don’t.

But you may have some work to do, first.

People tend to seek out people who are like themselves. We prefer to be around people with similar habits, viewpoints, income levels, and hobbies. Birds of a feather do flock together. And therein lies the challenge.

If you want to associate with successful people who can provide you with better ideas and better opportunities, you have to earn the right to do so.

Why should they associate with YOU? What are you bringing to the table? What better ideas and better opportunities will you be able to share?

There’s another law at work here: The “Law of Attraction”. Like attracts like. Birds of a feather flock together because they are birds of a feather.

If you want to be around successful people, you have to attract them and to do that, you have to become them. You don’t necessarily have to have achieved what they have achieved, but you must have similar philosophies.

That’s why personal development is essential to success. That’s why Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your business.”