“You are known by the company you keep.”
“Water seeks its own level.”
Have you ever heard either of those sayings? Perhaps you have found yourself using one of those expressions? I don’t know about you, but whenever I have heard those sayings they were being issued as a warning. A reminder to be careful of who you spend time with, because who you spend time with might represent who you become.”
“Oh, yes I know who you mean, he hangs around outside with the rest of the smokers.”
“Good luck getting cooperation from that team, we call them the department of how can I NOT help you.”
You can see that other people do form opinions about you based on your group associations. This is also why good employees leave bad teams. They simply do not want to be associated with a group that has a bad reputation. They rarely hang around to try and improve that reputation; they get away from it as fast as they can.
Let’s put other people and their opinions aside for a moment. Have you ever considered the impact that the people you spend time with have on you, your outlook and your success? How do the people around you make you feel?
Now, wait just one minute. Does anybody MAKE you feel anything? No of course not. You know that you are responsible for your thoughts and emotions. But to think that the people around you do not influence your thoughts and emotions is not very realistic.
Have you ever been really excited about an idea, only to share it with others and walk away feeling completely discouraged?
Have you ever felt completely discouraged about a situation, only to discuss it with a friend or group of friends who help you see the upside of that same situation?
Then you know the power of associating yourself with the right people over the wrong people. The wrong people drain your energy and stomp on your dreams. The right people help you feel inspired and motivated. When you spend time with the right people, you look forward to it; you don’t dread it or think of it as an obligation.
Why spend time with the wrong people? I am not telling you to disown all of your negative family members and all of your negative friends. This is not completely possible and perhaps not even completely desirable. Try to minimize the time you spend with the negative people in your life. Sure, fall out of touch with those who you don’t really need to be around. When you find you must be around negative influences, protect yourself. Do not share your important thoughts and dreams with them. Do not give their negativity any power over you, when you leave them, leave their thoughts and attitudes behind. Do not carry them with you, do not mull over any discouraging words they have uttered.
Now you see why in the title of this article KEEP is capitalized as-in, you are known by the company you KEEP. I am asking you to consider all implications of this expression. Yes, your reputation is defined by your associations. And your thoughts and emotions and therefore your actions are influenced by these associations. So please think about it, whose company do you really want to KEEP?