The Company We Keep: How Wrong Relationships Can Hold You Back in Business

Here are three psychological factors tied to the company we keep -- indicating that we should all choose our relationships more wisely.

I know this older guy who used to be successful. In other words, he once had all of the attributes that society assigns to someone who is deemed successful. Today, you only see remnants of the man he once was; and is desperately clinging onto.

I also know this younger gal who desperately wants to be successful. She has quite a few ideas to fuel her business endeavors. She hasn’t reached her idea of “success” yet, but has a nagging feeling that something is holding her back.

The common denominator that links these two completely different people is something that they themselves aren’t even aware of (or likely want to admit).

After close observation, it’s clear that a major contributor to their “current state” not aligning with their “desired state” is the company they keep.

Are you in Good Company?

Both people have high expectations for their life and low considerations for their surroundings; meaning that they consistently do the wrong things, with the wrong people, at the wrong times.

When they should be setting goals to move towards their desired end, associating with like-minded successful people and focusing on what matters most to them, instead they revel in the past and are stuck in the present.

Much of their dilemma is tied to the company they keep. Their relationships play a more significant role in their success than they care to admit. Notably, they haven’t decided to get around the right people and associate with positive, goal-oriented people who encourage and inspire them.

Sociologists have examined what happens when friends interact, and how friendships affect other areas of people’s lives. They’ve also examined the effects of hierarchies of status and power and of norms and social pressure on relationships. Most importantly, experts are aware of the unwritten rules of behavior among friends and what happens when we violate them.

So if you think the company you keep has no direct bearing on you or your business — think again. The truth is: the wrong relationships can paralyze your present and dismantle your future.

3 Psychological Relationship Factors that Impact Success

All successful people know one thing to be true: “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” as entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously noted.

“When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. Of course, everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we’re more affected by our environment than we think.”


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