Had Hitler not hooked up with Japan, he would likely have won the Second World War. Try to remove a penny from the bottom of a peanut butter jar, and you’re sure to get some peanut butter on your hand. We earn within ten percent of the people we spend the most time with. We cannot escape contamination and often serious consequences from associating with and teaming up with the wrong people.
Alexandre Dumas Père wrote, “Men’s minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate.” The converse is also true; bad women can drag good men down, and bad men can drag good women down. We need to be realistic about the power of association. There is a German proverb: “When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black.” Beware lest your conscience become seared.
On the positive side, Edmund Burke wrote, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” It not just an option, but indeed an unmitigated necessity that we find like minded men with whom to associate – those who share our values and aspirations. Look for those who are better, holier, smarter, wealthier, and more successful than yourself, if your raging North American ego will allow it, and you can only improve. But alone, it’s hard to succeed in business and in life.
Seek mentors and associates who care about you enough to confront you when you get off track, sell yourself short, or dabble in the dangerous. And avoid compromise and the wrong people at all costs. Remember, when you play with rattlesnakes, you will soon need a coffin.
Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com