We’ve all heard the term guilt by association, but can we be successful by association? The truest leaders are constantly giving of themselves. My father, the late, great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, said “You are the same person five years from now that you are today except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” Some take this to mean that if I spend five years reading books on becoming a millionaire then I’ll become a millionaire; and if I associate with successful people for five years I’m going to become one.
Success is not assimilated. When you rub elbows with the rich and famous, none of it actually rubs off on you. You still have to earn it for yourself. It’s just that the vision, and the council, and the motivation are around you so the chances of you accomplishing YOUR goals are much greater than if you were not in the presence of greatness.
Sooner or later, you’ve got to pay it forward to stay in the Success Club. If all you represent is a siphon on those around you in an effort to prop yourself up to their level by association, you are a taker, not a giver, and you are certainly not a success. One of my favorite analogies used by many a preacher regarding making Christianity a personal choice, and not being born into
faith is, “Just because you’re born in a garage doesn’t make you an automobile.”
The whole premise of success is to give back, and not to continually leech off the reputation or contacts of the people you are associating with. Riding on someone else’s coattails and name dropping are just as despicable as stepping on someone to get to the top.
Humility is the ultimate sign of greatness. To truly become first, you must become last, not simply hang out
with those in first place. So make sure your motives are self-examined. There is no doubt that who we hang out with impacts us. But we really should be doing some of our own impacting, too, which is why we should never make associations about ourselves, but rather ask ourselves what our associations can do for others.