“You can’t fly with the eagles, if you continue to scratch with the turkeys” – Zig Ziglar
“You become who you hang around” – Unknown
Whether it’s in sports, video games, or business, these two quotes alone can be one of the main reasons why some people reach the next level, and the rest, no matter how hard they try, never do.
Growing up, I used to play in a kid’s basketball league every year. And in almost all of those years I was a top five pick (not trying to brag) in the draft. I never understood why some kids, even those who practiced just as much as I did, never were able to play at the same level. But in hindsight, I now realize that it wasn’t about how much we practiced (quantity), but instead it was how well we practiced (quality).
I would practice at my neighborhood basketball court, where most of the kids who played there were much older than I was (I was in the 6th grade and they were on the high school basketball team), and therefore were stronger, taller, and faster than I was. Luckily, they still let me play with them everyday. Of course, it didn’t feel too good getting flat out dominated at the time, but in the long run it is what helped me become a better player.
I was practicing with people on a whole different level, and therefore rose up to it. I wasn’t playing with those that were less talented than I was; instead I was playing with people much better than me. The result: I had to play at a high school player’s level when I was only in the 6th grade. Going against that kind of competition, and then suddenly in a league of kids my own age, was like stealing candy from a baby.
This same way of getting to the next level can be applied to almost anything. If your goal is to earn more money, then surround yourself with people who already are. If you wish to be more positive, hang around people with positive attitudes. But being around them isn’t enough, you must learn from them, and start doing the same things they do.
We live in a world of cause and effect. Thoughts and actions are the “causes”, while your results and lifestyle are the “effects”. If you share the thoughts and actions of the people around you, sooner or later you will also share the same results and lifestyles they have. Why do you think the rich get richer, and the poor stay that way? It’s because the rich surround themselves with other rich and successful people, while the poor surround themselves with other poor and unsuccessful people.
How do you get to the next level when you can’t surround yourself with who you want?
Of course, you can’t always surround yourself with the people you want to learn from. For example, you may want to get to the next level as a real estate investor, but will you actually be able to hang out with Donald Trump on a daily basis and learn his trade secrets? The obvious answer is no. But the not so obvious answer is actually yes (well, sort of). Why? You can read all of Trump’s books, you can listen to his audiotapes, watch his videos, and even attend his seminars. By doing these things consistently, you are effectively hanging around with Trump; except of course only mentally.