Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Power of Association

The excerpt below isn't just for my fellow authors and writers - it's for everyone! Association is a very powerful thing.

Adapted from "Overcoming Obastacles with SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting."
ISBN 978-0-9816210-2-9

Our associations affect our behavior and mental state far more than we realize. People tend to take on the attributes of those around them, for better or for worse. The secret is to form associations that are a positive influence on our lives and not a negative drain.

Creatures of habit, we are drawn to familiar territory. We seek those who match our moral standards, economic status, and ambition levels. Consider those within our own circle of influence and we will discover they are our associates because we are comfortable in their presence. Occasionally we will be forced to stretch or shrink to fit our environment. Like the chameleon, we change our colors just enough to blend.

Our associations determine our placement in life. We will never outgrow our surroundings. The goldfish in a small fishbowl will only grow so large, but place him in a twenty-gallon tank and his size will increase to match his living quarters. Our associations influence us much like the goldfish’s tank, either by encouraging or restricting our growth.

Now, I am not suggesting that we need to make all new friends. (And we certainly cannot trade in our family members, no matter how hard we try!) However, if we possess far more drive and ambition than our circle of influence, then that is a problem. We must have someone who will push us to greater heights. The tennis player who can beat everyone at the country club will never improve further until he plays outside of this small group. We must also step outside of our comfort zones if we expect to achieve more and grow as individuals.

Separate from those who wallow in mediocrity. Avoid individuals who possess negative attitudes and aren’t afraid to show it. Place distance from those with potentially destructive behaviors and habits. Retreat from the underachievers and pessimists in life. Not only will these types of people hinder our efforts to grow and succeed, they will also resent our ambition and attempt to dampen our spirits. We do not need friends like that in our corner.

Instead, seek individuals who are actively pursuing ambitions and goals. Befriend those possessing a positive attitude and are moving forward in life or already possess a measure of success. They will encourage and stretch us. It is likely they will be in a position where they can apply direct influence as well. Certainly, they will be more willing to offer advice and help us achieve your goals.

Associations are incredibly important and can determine our success or failure in life. Do not allow personal contacts to influence or control our life in a negative manner. Surround ourselves with successful encouragers and watch our world be forever transformed!

- L. Diane Wolfe
Take a good look at your associations. Are they positive? Are they encouraging? Do they need to change? Do you need new relatives?


Natasha said...

Timely reminder to surround ourselves with people who challenge and let us grow.

Thank you.

Kristi said...

Great reminder and great post! I struggle with this ALL the time.

It's so true how it can have an effect on you - sometimes you barely realize it's happening. I've made a conscious effort to distance myself politely from negative people or those that tend to bring me down more than up, but still be a positive influence in their lives if possible.

Thanks for the spunky post!

Kristi said...

...and on the flip side I also try hard NOT to be that person. :-)

DL Hammons said...

Excellent...excellent advice!

Unknown said...

DO I need new relative? Perhaps. But, I have a great circle of friends that help me when I need it.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good for you, Kristi!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is something to think about. I try not to hang out with anyone who is a drain on my life.

Anonymous said...

I think of the Proverb, "In a multitude of counsellors there is safety." Some of the best advice I ever received was pick and choose your friends carefully. This is a very good article as we all know how easily even well meaning people can drag you down when making a life changing decisions such as writing and publishing a book.

Stephen tremp

Karen Walker said...

Do you need new relatives? LOL, most of the relatives who negatively influenced me are gone now, but I learned to find a circle of friends to support me where relatives could not. Now it is just my son, and we are learning together how to support one another. Associations are so important - you are so right, Diane. Thanks for the reminder.

Elana Johnson said...

I love this post to pieces. It's so true. There's only so much negativity and wallowing that a person can handle. I choose to surround myself with people who have a good attitude and winning drive.


Susan Fields said...

I have noticed that the people I surround myself with are a lot like me as far as drive, ambition, positive attitude. Those people I have known who are more negative I seem to naturally grow apart from. This post helps me see why this is.

Arlee Bird said...

Love my relatives-- they are relatively supportive, but mostly don't share my vision.

My old friends are geographically distant and I do not have that many friends where I am now. I really need to leave my house sometimes and find some interesting people with whom to associate.

At least I have blogging- thank goodness for that!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's one thing I think is so great about the online writing community. We have an opportunity to share ideas and approaches with writers who are at different stages of the journey...and learn from all of them!

Mystery Writing is Murder

The Old Silly said...

Agree with all this. I learned long ago the Top Five Rule: You will wind up being like the average of the sum total of the five people who you hang around and associate with the most.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm so thankful for my friends. Whenever one of us needs the positivity and love of the group, she calls a meeting. And we gather. We also meet just because we want to see each other, too.

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome! So very true! I use this kind of advice with the students in my classroom all the time! :)

Tara said...

Well said. And oh so true!

Laura S. said...

Yes! This post reminds me of how supportive and encouraging my friends and family are. I must thank them! And I hope I'm the same way for them, too. :)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

You have verbalized something that it took me decades to learn, Diane! Thank you!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Novelist and Poet