The Power of Association

I never did believe the saying that you are what you eat. However, I do believe that you are who you associate with. The power of association is extremely powerful in the way it dictates who you are and how much money you make. If you want to change yourself or you lifestyle, then it may be time to change the people you associate with.

Birds of a Feather Do Flock Together

Have you ever noticed that successful people hang around other successful people? Birds of feather really do flock together. If you’re a beer drinking, foul mouth talking wage slave, then chances are, all your friends are beer drinking, foul mouth talking wage salves as well. This is not by accident. You attract to you what you are.

One of the biggest barriers to success is quite often the people you hang around with. They laugh at your crazy dreams and say you’re wasting time trying to make money online. Come and have a beer instead. More often than not, you’ll let your friends keep you down. If you want to break out of the rat race, then you need to stop spending so much time with your current buddies and start associating with people who have the same dreams and goals as you.

Networking for Fun and Profit

One of the reasons I attend a bunch of trade shows every year is not just to keep up with the industry. These shows provide a great venue to network with like minded and successful people. I also attend many local networking events (Dot Com Pho is an example). Remember, a big part of who you are is determined by the people you hang with. No man is an island. The journey to success is a team effort.

To keep building my success, I make sure I associate with other successful people. Sometimes, that means not hanging around with old friends as much, or letting them go completely. It really depends on your goals. If you aspired to more than what your friends want to achieve, then you’re going to have to find others at your level or above and start associating with them. Success breeds success. This is why the rich get richer. If you want to become rich, then you need to hang out with the rich.

I look forward to meeting you at Blog World Expo next week.


100 thoughts on “The Power of Association”

  1. Mike says:

    Yep, it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know!

    1. Nick Ramsay says:

      Absolutely, success breeds success… so why do I associate with you Mike? 😉

      1. Mike says:

        oooppps i made a mistake, i meant to hit reply to your comment.. so as i was saying, cause I make you laugh! that’s why you associate with me nick! and you know we also have the same dreams and goals to spur each other on! and by the way, its not like your killing me in the blog game anyway…. although you are winning!

    2. akmal says:

      absolutely…you are who you are hanging with…success people hanging around with success people…if you want to be a success blogger as John, so sticking around….

      1. Hey you and me ARE successful then… 🙂 :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    3. Well, my father always said it the other way though, “It’s who knows you, not who you know. That’s the secret to business son. “

      1. Ron says:

        I’ve always believed that it isn’t WHO you know or WHAT you know, it is how you USE who you know or what you know.

        1. Hhmmm… I agree to that. I think that’s taking it to another level. Great! :mrgreen: 💡

    4. I say it’s not who YOU KNOW, it’s WHO KNOWS YOU? You could “know” all the people in the world, but if the don’t know you and trust you and like you and enjoy your company and find some value in being associated with you, it won’t be helpful at all!

      1. Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to say. 💡 :mrgreen:

  2. Mike says:

    cause I make you laugh!

  3. Danny Tsang says:

    I completely agree, you’ll find yourself talking about investing, money, business instead of girls, parties and drinking lol. Unfortunately I stopped hanging out with a lot of high school friends, but my handful of associates have me constantly on the lookout for new opportunities.

    Like minded people also inspire one another. They will raise the bar so will be motivated to return the favor. You bring each other up and add to the success.

    Great post. Thanks

    1. like minded people are so key.. most of the time they would be in the same area code as you.. you will need to eventually branch out of your county.

  4. This is a post I absolutely agree with. You cant make a good deal with bad people. It just wont work. For most of us developing good relationships with successful people online can be a challenge. I check this site everyday, not because it is necessarily one of my favorites but because its successful. I have said before I am not going to be John Chow , but wouldn’t mind picking his brain a bit. This particular post Ill classify as one a pearl of wisdom. Nice one John.

  5. Wayne Liew says:

    This is indeed true. Hanging around with a bunch of people that doesn’t see what you are seeing will only make you lose focus. Other than inspiration and motivation, like-minded people also provide advice and relevant suggestions rather than killing your hopes in doing something.

    Wait a minute, does that means noobies have a lesser chance of getting associated? 😯 :mrgreen:

    1. newbies?? do have a harder chance.. b/c they bring nothing to the table.. you better come up with a creative way to run with the big dogs..

  6. James Wilcox says:

    I agree that who you associate with can influence ultimately what you end up doing and subsequently making…but sometimes you are actually the one everyone looks up to in terms of who you associate with. Several of my friends make much less than I do but because of my savvy investing strategies, I am the one they put on top of their list…its an interesting thing to keep in mind that you might just be one of the 5 people someone else associates with that is more successful than they are…

  7. This is one thing I definitely don’t do enough… but I don’t know anyone is rl who does what I do.

    1. Neil Duckett says:

      Good point … hanging out with like minded people in a virtual world isn`t going to have the same affect as having these friends and associates in person. I suggest you look for these contacts offline too ….. a little harder to find but they`re there.

      1. Nelson says:

        Good point Neil, is very easy to pretent a personality or pretent to be a successful person in a virtual world, and that’s what many bloggers do, they are whiners about stresses in real life, they hate their jobs, and they dream of someday to become pro bloggers to avoid all that. good luck for them if they reach it. in my mind, a succesfull blogger needs to be equally successfull in life too, ( not being the blog part of the success), and is precious to read when some successful bloggers write about their virtues in life, matt cutts, john chow for example, but there are some bloggers who read a book or two and proclaim to be experts in some fields (they get assured of that by reading crap like teaching sells from Brian clark) and they write stuff that sometimes they don’t even understand– but it rhymes good. oh well, I guess I just went too far by saying that

      2. I would a agree.. forums are a good way to network as well. I like to use digitalpoint

  8. You should keep contacts with people heading in the same direction with you. It is important to have someone with the same interests to talk to, yet I can’t say a good friend would talk down you goals…


    ClickforNick – Make Money, Save Money?

  9. Pam Hoffman says:

    John wrote:
    “One of the reasons I attend a bunch of trade shows every year is not just to keep up with the industry. These shows provide a great venue to network with like minded and successful people.”

    This is exactly why I keep up with my blog John! I recently went to Affiliate Incubator and I learned a lot yet I met some of the greatest people.

    I just signed up for Masters Seminar in January too – I can’t wait to learn more and meet other folks. Consider going – I just added that link to my site too. They sound quite interesting.

    Pam Hoffman
    http://seminarlist.blogspot.com

    p.s. i added this quote to my blog – with a link back of course (like you really need that! 😉

  10. Matt Jones says:

    I 100% agree that it is very productive being around successful people. The only good thing about hanging around friends who don’t believe in you is that wanting to prove them wrong is a powerful motivator

    1. Wayne Liew says:

      There is always competition when two or more people come together. I just hope that I will not be the losing one in the competition. :mrgreen:

      1. Teejay says:

        Still its still a good option to do it. Just be wary.

  11. Michael Woo says:

    Hmm.. i’ve been trying to comment on your site without success.. i wonder what happened as i’m ur big fan!

    1. Domtan says:

      Often here, this happens when you comment for the first time. Since this comment made it live, then you’ll be able to comment successfully from here on in.

  12. Hahaha, that’s awesome John. i wanna hang out with you since you are such a mogul. Too bad you are in Canada. One day, if I can make enough money to fly whereever I want, I will come visit you. 🙂

  13. Steven says:

    I believe the term is the Law of Association. Something along the lines of ‘you become the combined average of the five people you associate with most’. While I do believe there is some influence with hanging out with the right crowd, I don’t believe that it’s always a finite law.

  14. I agree whole heartedly John.

    Writing about Japan is a bit of a niche subject, but making relationships with fellow bloggers in Japan has been great for sharing around the traffic, links and all in all quite rewarding.

  15. The thing is we all find confort in sameness or similarity. Which is why the beautiful people can all be seen together and the not so beautiful also stick together.

    The reason why people like me stick around here is simple, it isnt because we are successful, it is simply because we want to be in the august presence of success hoping a little bit will rub off 😆 You see wannabes stick together too.

  16. And i hope what you said above doesn’t mean that if your friends are not as successful as you, then you stop hanging with them so much?

    1. John Chow says:

      I’m not saying that at all. If your friends are not as successful as you but want to be, then the best thing is to help them. If they have no desire for success, then they are still friends.

      1. True dat…I’ve heard this somewhere else too i think…but it’s good stuff… 👿 :mrgreen: 😈

      2. teach’em how to fish…

      3. Good man John! Cheers to good friends 🙂

    2. Teejay says:

      You can get them to see how they can be successful. That’s what I do with my friends. They now have their own blogs 🙂

  17. Ivy says:

    I do agree that birds of a feather flock together, and have personally dropped a couple of friends from my social circle because of that they were extremely negative. On the other hand, I have some friends who may not be as successful, but give me great inspiration with their energy and ideas. And that is important for success too – hanging out with people who inspire you.

    1. Quite. It is not necessary that they do what you do or share the same professional goals. As long as the approach to life is similar and you get enthused by and charged by them, you are off and running.

  18. Jamie Harrop says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, John.

    I claim to be completely self-taught, but what I really mean is I didn’t spend four years at business school or university. What I did do, however, was spend many years networking online and offline with people who had already achieved the success that I wanted. Learning from those people and enjoying the opportunities that were presented by that group of people has been invaluable to me.

  19. This is a great post and I bet you wrote it from inside yourself John. Anyway the question is, what IF your friends are loads of fun, they like party and like spending money, they also like to make money (online or in RL), would you let down them?

    Well I have this problem that I would NEVER EVER let a friend down, and would never ever ignore a friend just because I should hang out with a shmunk that does not know how to clean his nose and can’t make any different discussion than making money online. Ok, that shmunk can help me build trust online and maybe hook me into something big, but I would STILL prefer to keep the communication with him on regular basis but not the same amount of time I would spend with my friends.

    Losing the pleasure for making money is not what I do see my life as.

  20. Perception is everything, if people see you hanging out with successful people then they will just surmise that you also are successful

  21. Klaudio says:

    …No man is an island…
    I think it’s the most importent phrase in the post (it’s my mind). 💡

  22. This is great advise except for one rider. One must first define one’s idea of success. Now, for some, material success is very important, for some, recognition in creative fields and so on so forth. It is not necessary for some one in say, the social, non government sector, to attend trade fairs and the like, but seminars and training programs in their field become important.

  23. Angel says:

    I completely disagree.

    First of all, I value people more than I do business. Sure, I’m not going to be a millionaire, and I’m probably not going to be rich any time soon, but I refuse to look at life in this way. The thought of dropping someone from my social circle because they aren’t successful is dumbfounding.

    I work in the media and I have to say that I like my job. Maybe all of us “wage slaves” aren’t deemed valuable enough to be in someone’s social circle, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t successful.

    None of my friends have ever got in the way of my goals. I think to generalize like this gives people a false impression of the world. I’m amazed to see so many people agreeing with this. Are people going to start evaluating their social circles now to cast off undesirables because someone said it’s a good idea?

    I have my own dreams and I don’t need the people around me to achieve them. I meet a lot of people every day in my line of work, and I can’t fathom how someone would suggest I judge these people based on how successful they are.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m young and in a different line of work. Actually, this is probably the reason I chose my line of work, because it is possible to be inspired by everyone — from dot-com millionaires to plain old regular folk.

    1. Jamie Harrop says:

      Yeah, the point from John about dropping old friends in favour of “new successful people” is about the only part I didn’t agree with.

      I still fully agree that you must surround yourself with people who are already where you are. Not because that’s good for your image, but because there isn’t any better way to learn than from those people who have already got to where you want to go.

    2. John Chow says:

      You don’t have to drop old friends. It will happen naturally. Most of the time, it will be your friends who drop you because you’re moving on and they can no longer relate to you.

      1. Friends will only move on when you will not be a friend anymore to them, and that means when you will start ignoring them, when you won’t go and have a beer and share a laugh with them, thats only when your friends will move on from you and not because they can’t relate to you.

        I can still be a successful business man during the day and a crazy a** at night with my friends, and trust me I would have no problems to have a new friend especially one that shares the same interests as mine (on business) but if business and money would be the only interest of my life than I would be missing the whole point of living a life.

      2. Nick says:

        John’s right. I was a machinist before going online full time, and the biggest mistake I made was telling my coworkers, who were also friends I would hang out with outside of work, that I was running an online business and making more money online then I was working.

        It was like a wall was instantly erected between us. Even when I told them what I did and offered to help any of them if they wanted, they just ripped on me – called me a spammer, a porn and pill peddler, ect.

        On the day I quit they told me I was stupid, and would fail, and that I should stop wasting my time and keep my job.

        It’s been 2 years now and I’m making more money then ever, and my “supportive” coworkers/friends are still chugging away for a meager wage.

      3. I think it would be very sad if my dear friend dropped me because they could no longer relate to me because i got too successful. That would sound like i got too big for my boots!

        I would hope that my success (a hypothetical situation still) would keep me grounded enough for my friends to still relate to me.

    3. you don’t need to lose your current friends. I think John wanted to get across that time is money and to be successful in the business world / blogging world you need to invest lots of time into a certain project.

      With this you might have less time to hang out with your friends. B/C to be successful in blogging or business there is usually a transition phase.

      A phase where you have to juggle your full time day job and your side business. Until that side business can handle your daily expenses you will be working at your 40 hours from your day job, plus 10+ hours on your side business. This will consume your free time, hence less time to spend with friends.

    4. JCYL says:

      You’re the only one here whose comment actually makes sense! You’ve got the right mentality.

    5. You are perfectly justified in your stand and I do not think that it in any way takes away the importance of net working with, shall we say peers? If you see my earlier comment, I have said that all of us should first defined what we consider as “success”. If we associate with peers with similar goals and drives, you can achieve a lot more than if you were to do it all alone.

  24. freshstart says:

    I have only one quetion for you, John…

    Those rich folks you hang out with..

    Will they continue to hangout with you IF YOU FAIL?

    1. John Chow says:

      Success is made from a string of failures. If you have never failed, it means you never tried. If you fail, we will continue to hang with you. If you never try, that’s another story.

      1. Yup true dat…I failed 20 times before I made OneBuckWiki… Well not exactly fail but failed to make enough income. 😈 :mrgreen: 😈

  25. Adie says:

    John,
    I’m being very fussy, but get Nate to re-look at your site in Firefox as it doesn’t view nicely, lines not matching up on the design.
    Maybe you’re ok with it though…

  26. Liz Fuller says:

    Putting it down in writing like this makes it sound more mercenary than it is. In reality, we all change and grow over time and some times we outgrow relationships. It no longer makes sense to remain friends with people who don’t share our values, or who even try to keep us from changing and growing. I don’t think anyone is advocating sitting down with a list each January and deciding who does and who does not make the cut, but rather recognizing that relationships evolve over time. Invest time into the ones that are encouraging, supportive and keep you connected to who you really are at your core, and continue to be open to new relationships that inspire, motivate and connect you to who you want to become.

  27. Yi Lu says:

    I find this amusing as the majority of you agree with John Cow. Don’t let your future disorientent your past as a man without a pass has no future.

  28. missy says:

    I don’t think John meant to castoff “unsuccessful people”, i believe what he meant was to castoff “those who don’t add any value” to your goals and success-oriented nature.

    He specifically referred to those who are not ambitious in life.

    Good advice, no……..great advice!

    1. Angel says:

      Umm, it’s the same thing. How is it good advice to ditch a friend who isn’t ambitious? That’s absurd. Can you even back that up? What you’re saying is that it’s impossible to separate business and your social life.

      1. John Chow says:

        You won’t have to ditch them. Like I said in my above answer to you, most likely they will ditch you because they can no longer relate to you. Unless you can find some other common ground (like maybe a sport) chances are, you and your friends will drift away from each other.

        1. very true .. this is becoming apparent.. it’s like a frog telling a tadpole what the world looks like. You have a different vision in life and they can’t see it unless they cross that bridge them self.

        2. Ken says:

          Angel, maybe its cause you are young now. But John is correct, it will happen as you become more successful. You won’t ditch them, they will ditch you.

          Imagine you make $10,000,000. You are traveling the world, live in LA, NY and Chicago. Go on many long vacations. Your friends go to work everyday and can’t come with you. You dont hang out anymore, you maybe see them once every few months. You drift. It happens.

  29. JCYL says:

    不同意; 不一定的!!

  30. Lincoln says:

    If you want to become rich, then you need to hang out with the rich.

    Rich people suck hairy monkey balls. I prefer to hang out with poor hot girls instead. :mrgreen:

  31. These are some wise words, thanks for the reminder. I am totally in agreement with you on it.

  32. networking with right people is important. Sometimes you just can’t say no to your friends. It frustrates me how my frinds and family ignore me when i talk about making money online. They think I’m crazy. They think that having 60k/yr job is so prestige. It will make you rich and sadly most my friends believe that. When i tell them there are live people making 60k/mo online, they think that someone is feeding me bullshit online.

    This is why i working hard break out of this wage slave life. It will prove to them I was right.

  33. JCYL says:

    Success is not measured by how much money you can make.

  34. JCYL says:

    I’ve lost all respect for you after this one post. Good bye.

    1. Ken says:

      LOL, thats funny. I bet we’ll see a comment from you sometime in the future.

      1. John Chow says:

        They always come back. 😈

      2. edison says:

        @anonymous: another shoe licker? stop sucking up to john.

  35. Eric L. says:

    I agree that the people that surround us have a big influence on the person that we are. That being said, I also know that oftentimes the strongest friendships are those that were there since we were young. My childhood friends who grew up with me know me and know the person that I am. I feel comfortable being myself with them. As we grow up and other people enter our lives, I always wonder what is their motivation. There is not that same element of being genuine. It is important to network to advance, but it is also important to recognize what’s important in life… and that is happiness and being true to oneself. Every time you’re about to lose a friend, whether on purpose or because you no longer keep in touch, ask yourself if it would be easy to replace that friendship and all the memories. Trust me, as time goes by, true friendships become harder and harder to forge.

  36. Great see you at Blog World John.

  37. I never say no to a Dot Com Pho!

  38. Rick Calvert says:

    This is a great post John and thank you for the link. I would amend it a bit by saying “productive, successful and supportive friends” vs. “rich friends”. Not everyone has the same goals, and not everyone equates being “rich” with being “successful”.

    As for me truly succeeding in life means much more than being wealthy. Being a good husband, good father (god willing) a good friend all make for success. Being good at what you do, taking pride in your work, your work ethic and being ethical in your job and personal life all give you a feeling of success.

    By the same token I do have friends who are not wealthy but are very productive and supportive of what I do. On the other hand, I have some former friends that have wasted their lives. As a good friend I tried to help them but in the end, they are going to make their own choices and I have to make mine for me and the people I love.

    Yes I want to make money but not for money’s sake, I make money to give me the freedom and security I need to enjoy life and support my family.

    btw I have failed in all of the above mentioned before and I am sure will again but the trying is part of what makes life rewarding.

    Looking forward to meeting you at BlogWorld and continuing this discussion over a couple of beers=p.

    1. John Chow says:

      Sounds good to me!

  39. Paul says:

    “Sometimes, that means not hanging around with old friends as much, or letting them go completely.”

    Wannabe Richard Kiyosaki, I can’t stand people like you. The typical fake and insincere “schmoozer” who doesn’t care about anyone else except yourself and money. One who is so absorbed into a capitalistic mindset that you lose sight of all the truly important things around you. A “dot com mogul”, eh? Good for you bro – you’re rich and have lots of money. But that’s all you’ll ever have.

    “I look forward to meeting you at Blog World Expo next week.”

    Yeah… sure. If I’m rich, right?

    The fact that you view friends (and I’m willing to bet people in general) as being so disposable makes me question if your (monetary) success is even deserved at all. Just don’t forget that it’s people like those on your site who helped you get rich in the first place.

  40. Angel says:

    Well, this has been the most interesting blog post I’ve read for some time because of the very human responses it has drawn from people. Good stuff John. Ask in me in 10 years time and perhaps I will agree with you; who knows.

  41. Sailen says:

    John,
    Good one . Obviously networking with smarter people make you smarter and successful.
    Sailen
    “Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions – Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”– Chanakya
    http://sensefruition.blogspot.com

  42. John, in the other side, I’ve heard a words saying “Leader is like an Eagle, you cant find it once at a time” ..as I know, Eagle doesnt seems to be flocking together, its usually “having his activity” alone :D. I’m not saying that I disagree with your “birds feather flock together”, I just think it’s not quite good analogy for your post idea.

    1. John Chow says:

      Eagles are not leaders. That’s only an image that America likes to projects. They are among the dumbest birds in the world. That’s why there are so few of them left. They don’t know how to survive.

  43. Raymond says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the post. I gain some new insights and idea from this post today. 💡

  44. JCYL says:

    Readership dropped by 5000 in one day.

  45. JCYL says:

    People who support this post seem to be shoelickers who either want to get prizes from you, or to gain some publicity for their own sites. How sad.

  46. also, have you noticed that when employed people talk to employed people they have the same grievances, and they sometimes dont consider the big picture. example, i employed a number of personal trainers. one girl complained to me that i was charging £30 ($60) per session and paying her £20. I was making a whole £10 out of her hard work! She never took into consideration the £50,000 yearly rent, £20,000 business rates, equipment hire, electricity, marketing, Tax etc etc… £10 !!! didnt scratch the surface! 😉

  47. The bottom line is that real friendship endures, over time, over continents, over pay packets, over everything. I know mine have! Friends who became way more successful than me and living in a different continent still zealously keep in touch with me and i know they are there for me no matter what or when or where!

  48. Jovan says:

    Great post and all so true, life isn’t fair but thats how it is…

Comments are closed.