The Company You Keep.

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Your parents were right “Birds of the same feather flock together”, and “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas”. These are some of the cautious statements parents give to their children on the importance of choosing their friends, relationships and associations. Parents know viscerally because they know in hindsight how the right or wrong association shaped their lives. As the saying goes, “You are the total of the five people you spend the most time with.” You cannot outperform your inner circle as they calibrate your baseline and, ultimately, your threshold. Two of the most crucial relationship decisions we all must make include choosing a life partner and the choice of work. You will spend at least two-thirds of your life with your partner and at work. The company you keep is essential in how far you go in life, so choose wisely.

Most of us are stuck with default friends, familiar acquaintances (family), childhood friendships, recreational contacts and low-touch associations. People come into our lives for a reason, a season and a lifetime. We tend to hold onto people whose time and reason for being in our lives has passed. We hang out with them just because they are childhood friends, even though they have become toxic. We continue to go to that book club, chess club or sports association because we’ve always gone even though your association is not lifting you or helping you nurture your dreams. Be careful where you take your feet and the company you keep because it sooner or later determines the altitude in life.

A man is judged by the company he keeps, and a company is judged by the men it keeps, and the people of Democratic nations are judged by the type and caliber of officers they elect. – William J. H. Boetcker


WHEN YOU FINE‐TUNE YOUR ASSOCIATIONS, you allow yourself to transform your actions and radically enhance your results. You could be one association away from changing your entire life. You may need to either change or expand who you associate with because who you allow into your inner circle is critical, and you must cultivate and invest in these people as a means of investing in yourself.

Be prudent in the company you keep. Like it or not, you are the sum of your relationships, and you are judged for it. Your relationships are a big part of how the world sees you. That can either work in your favor or against you.

Your Relationships Bull’s Eye

Think of your relationships as a series of concentric circles, much like a bull’s eye.

Each circular space represents different intimacy levels of the people you encounter in your life. The closer you get to the center of the circle, the closer you get to people who you connect with on a deeper and more profound level.

Outermost Ring – Strangers

With the strangers you meet daily. It could be the people sitting at the next table over in a sports bar, watching the same game as you. Or a business prospect who cold calls you to find out more regarding your goods or services. These strangers constantly make appearances in your life, and then they disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. In general, the impacts of strangers on your life are negligible.


Acquaintances are people you see from time to time, such as the butcher behind the meat counter at your grocery store or the parents of your son’s or daughter’s friends. Your small chats over time bind you to these people, and you enjoy random interactions when you bump into them.

Casual Relationships – Guarded interaction

Casual relationships draw you and others even closer. Think of these people as your outer circle of friends. They are your children’s teachers, people you see at house parties, and members of the same clubs or organizations you belong to. You invest your relationship energy with them on a limited basis. You’re comfortable sharing information, and you tend to like these people, but your relationship with them is guarded, and you don’t go out of your way to have them in your life.

Innermost Circle

The innermost circle is small and consists of just a few people who impact you daily. These people could be your spouse, children, or parents. But that’s not always the case. There are no hard and fast rules that say blood relatives are immediately granted access. Not all life‐long friends and family members end up being in your inner circle, and that’s okay. You can still be close to those people. Their relationships are valued and worthy of your time and commitment.

You are the Bull’s Eye

You are at the center of all these circles. You are the bull’s eye. The nature of life is that people enter your life, and they move closer to the center of the bull’s eye, or they move away. It may take years or as quickly as a matter of weeks, but people rarely stagnate in one circle for your entire life.

People enter your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime. Eventually, each person’s association with you is revealed. When that purpose has been realized, your relationship changes, and other new associations move in to fill the void.

 Types of people you are likely to encounter: 2

  • Refreshers—they inspire your dreams and energize your talents.
  • Refiners—they sharpen your ideas and clarify your vision.
  • Reflectors—they mirror your energy, neither adding nor subtracting from it.
  • Reducers—they try to reduce your vision and efforts to their comfort level.
  • Rejecters—they deny your talent, hinder your efforts, and impede your vision.

If you remain focused on results, you will stay grounded. The praise of others is less likely to go to your head, and the negative impact of people such as the reducers and rejecters will be minimized.


  • How to Overcome Resistance — Seth Godin : The Tim Ferriss Podcast

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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