“One bad apple spoils the bunch.”
Jim Rohn, one of the greatest motivational speakers of all time famously said:
“YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH.”
The sentiment quickly found its way into the general lexicon because of its incredibly poignant take on common sense. Another way to express the same thought:
Let’s go with the apple analogy, because the phenomenon of bad apples and spoiled bunches has actually been scientifically proven.
Apples spoil because of either fungus or ethylene. Fungus destroys apples because it eats the apple alive. Ethylene because it speeds up the ripening process.
It doesn’t take much of a stretch to equate fungus to an energy vampire – a friend or business associate who only takes, leaving nothing for anyone else to feed from.
Along the same lines, ethylene speeding up the ripening process, can be equated to a nagging or pushy business associate, one who simply has to get his way regardless of the consequences.
As Jim Rohn might hypothesize, if you are spending most of your time around five people who are either energy vampires or blowhard know it alls, you will likely never achieve your full potential.
Today, I’d like to examine why this is actually the case.
1.The Influence of Your Environment
No one likes to admit that they are prone to actions that are out of their control.
However, numerous scientists have proven that the overwhelming majority of your actions, somewhere in the neighborhood of 95%, are a product of the subconscious mind.
Why then, would you think that you could control your behavior around the influential stimuli of other subconscious thoughts?
If your five best friends can’t even describe 95% of their motivations to you, what makes you think that you can interpret them and respond in a completely controlled manner?
The most that you can really do is choose people whose conscious actions showcase a healthy subconscious mind.
The instinctive favor or disdain that you have for some people may be the interaction of your subconscious mind with theirs, and this happens far before you ever speak.
Your environment is playing a much greater role in your success or failure than you can even perceive.
Yes, simply being around more successful people will make you more successful – just like being around people who are stagnant reduces your ambition, closes off your mind to new ideas and makes you stagnant as well.
The parable of the apple is especially poignant in this analogy.
Simply removing an apple from a contaminated bunch gives that apple a new lease on life.
2. The Math of the Matter
“Oh great,” you say, “he’s talking about math.”
HANG WITH ME FOR A MINUTE, BECAUSE THIS IS ACTUALLY GOOD MATH THAT CAN MAKE YOU MONEY.
You see, science and math, widely considered universal truths, are really just as political as… well… politics.
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was booed out of the room before it was proven to solve certain problems by another scientist named Eddington – years later.
Einstein never actually won a Nobel prize for his theory of relativity because of the politics involved in the long process the scientific community took to accepting it. Although he did win for other things. The reason that we accept the Theory of Relativity today is its ability to solve problems when used in other mathematical functions.
So here’s why this is important to you:
We accept math as law when it explains things.
When math is recognized as law, that math ideally permeates the entirety of the universe. It can be used in any example.
A basic equation would be something like this:
2X = 4
For this equation to be true, then X = 2.
That 2 can represent two of anything – two elephants, two tennis rackets or two apples. If you multiply any two of those items by two, you will get four of those items.
Why then, do we think the behavior of the universe is any different for the company we keep?
Rich people hang out with other rich people.
They throw exclusive parties that people who are not rich cannot attend.
Extremely famous people only react when another famous person calls them out on Twitter.
If you call out Miley Cyrus or Kylie Jenner for something, you will likely be ignored.
Is this because your information is less true than the famous person who retweeted the same thing?
You are ignored because you are seen as too far below the level of the person you are trying to reach up to.
This is just as permanent of a law as the simple math equation above.
This behavior is true of the most exclusive parties in America… or the basest tribal ranks you see in tribes untouched by “civilization” in the South China Sea.
This behavior is even imitated in video games like World of Warcraft. We cannot escape it!
Fortunately, now that you know the rules, you can change them to work in your favor.
Akio Morita, founder of Sony, once gave this sage advice about business and the company you keep:
“We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned.”
The key here is WHO you imitate when you just start your business.
If your role models in business are failures, then you are doomed to imitate failure.
That’s why the advice of a well meaning family member or friend who has never started, managed or run a business before about your online business is not the advice you should listen to.
However, if Richard Branson shared some insights… well, you better listen up!
If you keep lousy friends or listen to the wrong people… the bad apples… you have no one to correct these behaviors, and the math of the universe will work against you every time.
3. No One Does It Alone
Another law of the universe:
“IF THERE IS NO ONE ABOVE YOU TO PULL YOU UP, THEN YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CLIMB VERY FAR.”
The myth of the “self made man” that occurs in the Western world, and especially in America, is a fiction.
Even John Wayne needed a team of hundreds to make him look like the lone wolf super-warrior that he was on screen, so do you really want to try to do it yourself in real life?
Innate talent never equals success in and of itself.
The best athletes may have been born with the genetics to excel, but they had to be nurtured throughout their entire career in order to emerge as the top of their class.
If Lebron James had not been fed every two hours after his birth for the first year of his life (babies can only survive for three hours without food), he would not be alive today to be the best basketball player on the planet.
Lebron needed help, and so do you.
The help that you need comes from your friends and business associates.
Although they will not be literally feeding you, they will be feeding your mind and your habits.
Even if you do not believe in all of the energy mumbo-jumbo that we mention earlier in this article, you can believe this:
The less people you have giving you great ideas, the harder it is to have those ideas.
Keep this in mind as well – rich, successful people have lawyers, agents, accountants, mentors, partners, suppliers, employees and customers helping them.
Because you know that you will need these things to become successful, you might as well start getting them now.
If your current crop of friends or associates cannot fill one or more of these roles, then you might want to reduce their role in your life.
4. Understanding Risk
We are all scared of risk.
Whether it be the humble janitor or a multi-billionaire, every single one will seek to avoid risk as much as possible.
For many people, there is comfort in staying the same. Don’t rock the boat and you can live life quietly with no pushback, and things will go smoothly.
At least until they don’t.
Living life trying to minimize all risk really only minimizes our upside, because bad or unwanted things in life are going to happen no matter what you do.
No matter how much you try to hide from life, someone is going to call you out, bully you, disrespect you or try to take advantage of you.
We try to believe the lie that hiding in a group of stagnant people will somehow save us, but it doesn’t.
The major challenge for all middle class people is that they pay the most taxes and their voices are never heard – this has been the case since the middle class existed.
You already know that this will happen to you if you do not move forward at all times with your life. Truthfully, you are risking more if you stay the same.
Winners understand that more scrutiny comes with more success, and that means scrutiny from your peer group as well.
The Journal of Consumer Research has found that less experienced and successful people always seek out positive feedback, while experts and highly successful people actually seek out critics.
As a matter of fact, high performance people thrive off of criticism.
However, there is another very important point to consider that you may not have thought of.
You may believe that staying with a supportive social group means that you are receiving positive feedback.
The truth is that these groups are a constant circle of negative feedback meant to keep any member from rising above the group and upsetting the delicate balance of energy that connects associations like these. However, this negative feedback comes masked in the form of positive comments:
“You’re fine just the way you are!”
“Why do you need to do all that extra work? You have everything you need.”
“People who have all that stuff are usually stuck up. I’m glad you don’t have it.”
And so on, and so forth.
The second you choose to change your status, you will hear much more of what are considered “negative comments” – at least on the surface.
Yet read any biography of a great person… like Richard Branson or a Michael Jordan and you will find that this so called negative feedback was actually the catalyst for extremely positive growth.
The risk of receiving negative feedback is actually a risk that you want to take.
Stop being afraid of success, and seek out the highly scrutinizing people who will catapult you into your next level of performance.
At my company, Digital Altitude we actually have a 5 Day Mastermind that puts you into direct contact with extremely successful people. To Apply, go here
The people who take the time to critique you are actually the people who care about you the most.
5. The Only Constant Is Change
Every part of your body is nothing but cells. Your cells are constantly dying and replacing themselves. You actually become a completely different physical person every seven years that you live as all of the cells that were a part of you get replaced by a completely new set of cells.
If you stubbornly cling to the same mental state as you move through life you are moving against your natural inclination to develop.
Many scientists are starting to believe that the only reason we age is because of the mindset that our new cells must maintain the same position as the old ones. We literally ruin our own DNA during every regeneration because of our need for stability.
Eventually the body gets tired of this sameness and we die.
Although this theory has yet to be proven, there may be something to it philosophically.
Maybe this natural disdain for rigid stability is the reason that you hate your rigid desk job.
It may be the reason that marriage partners begin to tire of a relationship after years of monotonous routine.
We are not built to give up our freedom, new ideas and growth for the sake of stability.
WHEN YOU OUTGROW A SOCIAL OR A BUSINESS GROUP IT IS TIME TO LEAVE.
6. Putting It All Together
People are your main catalyst to achieve goals in your life. Or they are the cause of you falling short of that goal.
The better caliber of person you hang around, the higher caliber person you become – it really is as simple as that.
ANYTHING THAT YOU ARE AROUND WILL EVENTUALLY SPREAD TO YOU.
Whether your environment is positive or negative, you will soak it up and deliver it back to the rest of humanity.
Why deliver humanity more of what all of the other broken souls are giving it? You only have one life, so use it to express the fullness of your experience on this planet!
Let the rotten apple eat itself – you do it no favors by letting it eat you, too!
Your circle of friends and business associates must be on your level to encourage you forward when the motivational talk wears off.
No two people take inspiration the same, so why not be around people who can teach you how to take it from new sources?
This is really the primary advantage of a superior peer group – you will learn how to view your world positively from many different angles.
If you need visual motivation to upgrade your social and business circles, and you want to reinforce the analogy of the bad apple, watch this timelapse video .
Take note of the apple that stays fresh in its skin and how even the open apple that is not connected to the decaying apples at the bottom is still vulnerable.
This is how you must treat your life – the company that you keep is really that important!
Take your life into your hands right now.
Commit yourself to removing the bad apples in your circle and cut away the mush in your business.
And as always, let us know how Digital Altitude is working for you and how we can help you further.
Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or connect with your coach. See you at the top!