Blog | Entrepreneurship

The Company You Keep

How your friendships can influence your success

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If you’re a parent, you’re probably very concerned with the friends that your children keep. This is especially true if you have older kids who are in high school or college.

Any parent worth their salt knows that if their kids hang out with the wrong type of people it can influence them to make harmful decisions. This is why the best parents ask questions about their children’s friends over and over again. And while the child may resent such “invasions” into their privacy, I don’t know one parent who regrets being nosey when it comes to friendships. In fact, many of the parents that I know have probably helped their kids avoid some pretty bad situations by doing so.

What I find interesting is that people are often very concerned about their kids’ relationships, but they don’t take a hard look at their own relationships—especially when it comes to money.

Do your friends make you poor?

I am a firm believer that there is no more powerful a force in the world than the people you call your friends. When I was young, I was lucky to have a best friend named Mike. His father was a wealthy businessman and investor who became my rich dad. My poor dad, my real father, was also successful by the world’s standard, serving as the superintendent of schools for the state of Hawaii.

My poor dad struggled with money all his life, however. He had a very solid middle-class mindset and believed in going to a good school, getting a good job, saving your money, and living below your means. What is more, all of his friends believed the same thing. They often would complain together about the rich.

My rich dad on the other hand surrounded himself with successful business people. They often talked about money and business, helping each other get better at what they did. Though they all had different occupations, they each shared a passion for how money worked and liked the sport of making more money.

Though I was a friend with Mike for most of my childhood, my father never desired to build a friendship with Mike’s dad. Though he never said so, I think he was both intimidated by the wealth my rich dad had and also resented him because he was rich. He always found it easier to complain about the rich than to get to know them. Because of this, his views on money and business were never challenged. He was very comfortable sticking with his friends who thought the same way. Unfortunately, later in life he struggled a lot financially.

Though he would have never agreed, I’m convinced that my poor dad’s friends kept him poor. He was very intelligent and motivated. Had he made friends that helped him think differently about money, he probably could have been very successful.

My rich dad, on the other hand, would readily admit that his friends helped him get richer. “Life, like investing and business, is a team sport,” said rich dad. “You win by picking the right teammates.” He was very intentional about the friends he picked, and he liked to be with people who challenged him and made him more successful.

Are your friends the right friends for you?

If you’re not quite satisfied with where you are in life, it may be time to stop and ask yourself a simple but profound question, “What are my friends like?”

Do your friends challenge you to be a better person and to grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially? Or do they bring you down to places where you wish you didn’t go?

Do your friends’ values and goals align with yours? Or do they constantly distract you from the things you want to really accomplish in life?

If you challenged your friends to join you on your journey to get better financial intelligence, would they be excited to come along? Or would they find excuses to skip out and do other things?

What are the kinds of activities you and your friends do? Is it mostly leisure activities like drinking, sports, or shopping? Or is it also constructive things like learning, growing, and building?

These and many other questions are vital to answer to understand if your friends are right for you. If you find that most of the answers are not what you’d like them to be, it might be time to start looking for new friends.

Break up to move up

Most people don’t like to hear it—or admit it—but sometimes if you want to move up in the world, you have to break up with your friends. This isn’t news to anyone, and in fact most people do this inherently.

More than likely, you’re not friends with people who went to high school with any longer. If you’re lucky, you maybe have a friend or two from college. The reality is that we all shed friendships as we move into a new phase of life.

The reason why it’s easy to shed high school and college friends is because they are natural transition points. Everyone in that phase of life is moving on. When we become adults, however, we become much more entrenched. As a result, we become stuck in our ways both personally and in our relationships. We start to reject the idea of change.

For this reason, moving up as an adult takes a lot more intentionality and action. It means taking a hard look at your habits and your friendships, deciding what you really want in life, and making the conscious choice to move on and up, even if your current friends won’t or can’t come with you.

 

Does this mean you cut them out entirely? No. It just means that you have to choose the activities that will help you grow where you want to over a night out with your friends if they come in conflict. What you will find is that over time, making a habit of doing this will result in a natural falling away.

It sounds hard in the moment, but breaking up with friends that hold you back is one of the most liberating and important things you can do on your road to success.

Original publish date: May 01, 2018

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