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The Power of Influence

Author:   |  Published: February 20, 2014  |  Leave your thoughts

Most of you have probably heard of author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s noteworthy quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” and I strongly agree. If you look closely at your own life, and those in it, you will probably find that you mirror the habits of your friends or family.

Ever notice that spending a lot of time with a certain group of people or just a person has made you become more like them? This may even happen without you realizing it. Our environment has a substantial impact on our thoughts. Our thoughts are a blue print for our future actions. If our thoughts are constantly being influenced by negative energy, then our goals are not even in our radar. To be motivated and have positive thoughts we must hang out with those who are smarter than us and more positive. This leads to a higher probability of more favorable outcomes. Over the past few years, I have certainly noticed this first hand. If I am surrounded by individuals who are driven to succeed and have outstanding work ethic, it makes me want to work harder too. I am more likely to stay focused on the task at hand and produce better results.

When addressing Illinois Institute of Technology’s commencement, Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer gave a great example on the power of influences. She states:

“Find the smartest people you can and surround your self with them. Working with smart people means that you’ll be challenged to do your best. You’ll have to strive to keep up with them, and as a result, they will elevate your thinking. When there are better players around you, you get better.”

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Hanging out with people far ahead of the game will only elevate you much higher than those who are not even thinking about the game. I am not just talking about careers here, but an overall satisfaction of life. If you are the average of five people you hang out with the most, make sure those five individuals are hardworking, happier, and goal-driven because they influence you in profound ways.

Over the holidays I read an autobiography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. This biography depicted the rise of Jobs and Apple computers. When the first Macintosh came out in January 1984 Steve Jobs started gaining celebrity recognition because of its uniqueness. He had a different division working on Steve’s old start up the Lisa. Now we have two teams, the Macintosh team and the Lisa team consisting of different brilliant engineers. However the Lisa did not do as well as the Macintosh. When these two divisions were about to converge right after the release of the Macintosh in 1984, Steve wanted to fire a few people from the Lisa team. Although both teams consisted of brilliant engineers, he felt the need to keep only the best of the best. So he fired anyone, who he felt was a B player, and only kept A players, because he felt that keeping B players may attract the same level of work ethic from individuals in the A group. This just goes to show you, how this successful individual immediately noticed the power of influence. Regardless of how brilliant both the Lisa and the Macintosh team were, he felt that even someone of the slightest below brilliant, may affect the entire team.

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Over the years, I have learned that the most important gift you can give someone is your time. Your time is limited and your thoughts are powerful, choose wisely with whom you want to spend your time with. Make sure these individuals lead to your growth this year, and I hope this year you get closer to your goals. This is just a small snippet and there are obviously many more factors involved in an individual’s success but I hope this helps.

 

To see Marissa Mayer’s entire commencement address: