Power of Association

Raman and Ranveer are first cousins living at a plush South Mumbai locality of Cuffe Parade. They are 16 years old (Raman being elder of the two by 3 months). The families are ecstatic as both the lads have scored very well in their 10th Standard ICSE board exams. While Raman got 90.7%, Ranveer did a tad better at 92.2%. Belonging to a family of medical professionals, both Raman and Ranveer had aspirations of becoming doctors, and were lucky to have got admitted in the Science faculty of the same junior college. The next 2 years were going to be very important for the brothers, as their fate in the 12th board examinations would decide their access to medical courses.

Raman was inclined towards music, reading, spirituality and painting. While Ranveer was more outgoing and preferred dance, sports, clubbing and partying. Both had enrolled for the same tuitions and classes for their Medical CET preparations. Sunday was generally a free day for the boys, and both spent their time in leisure activities. Raman was taking piano lessons and had enrolled himself for a certification with the Trinity School of Music. He would spend the day at classes and the evening with his peers discussing music and arts. Ranveer got an opportunity to go partying with his pals. Unfortunately he got hooked on to wrong company and got habituated to smoking, alcohol and drugs!

In an ill-fated turn of events, the police turned up at the bar where Ranveer and his friends were partying. They were arrested for illegal possession of drugs. Somehow his parents managed to bail him out and got him back home. The situation at home was tense. Ranveer, instead of being apologetic, back answered elders at home, and justified his illegal activities. Sadly, his parents learned over a period of time, that Ranveer was addicted to drugs and could not live without them. He could not concentrate on studies, and needed his daily quota of marijuana. He got pretty ill, and had to be admitted to a rehab center for 4 months! Academically, he lost a year since he was unable to attend his 11th Standard final exams. On the other hand, Raman scored very well in his board and entrance exams and got admitted to a MBBS course.

What went wrong with Ranveer? Despite getting higher scores in his ICSE exams, he could not continue with his good performance. The answer is simple! He got into wrong company. This can be explained by the Power of Association.


Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The key to really putting the power of association at work is to ensure that the average of the five people we’re spending the most time with is pulling us up instead of pulling us down. The principle is tried and tested. You can predict the success of an individual simply by looking at the people he or she associates with.

It is a choice we make in our daily lives. We get to choose, whom we should spend time with and which people we must avoid. Every relationship in your life is a current moving towards your dreams or away from them. “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Anytime you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”  – Collin Powell


The habits of people that we choose to spend the most time with, tend to rub off on us.  If you choose to spend time with people who are very goal focused, then chances are if you’re not goal focused, you soon will be. You cannot become excellent unless you walk with those who have attained excellence. “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better to be alone then in bad company” – George Washington

Anyone who is not adding to you, will definitely be subtracting from you either emotionally, mentally, materially or intellectually. Who we hang out with affects our self-esteem and our success in what we want to achieve. Success breeds success. No man is an island. Who you surround yourself with will have a major bearing on your success. Don’t listen to frightened people. Being happy, healthy and rich is as much about mindset as it is about knowledge. Frightened people have a poor mindset and are always complaining about how the sky is falling. “Successful people carefully manage their energy and associations, they are gate keepers. – Bryant McGill


One must avoid people who are always complaining and blaming others for their circumstances. People who are always judging others, spread negative gossip and talk about how bad it is. Avoid people who limit the scope of your dream who keep telling you your aim is too high. I remember reading somewhere, no one should form an acquaintance with one who has an evil character. A piece of coal would burn us when hot, and blackens our hands when cold.  T.D Jakes once said “It’s always good to know when to let go of certain relationships.”

When I compliment you, I compliment myself” – Jarod Kintz. We must always seek to associate with people more successful than we are, and wiser, too. We should surround our self with people of high ethical character, and with those who have high appetite for work. To lead for growth, your energy will come from associating with people who are more successful than yourself.


I would like to conclude with some pearls of wisdom by Jim Rohn: “You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change!” We would have to be more conscious, take charge of our lives, and take informed decisions regarding individuals we spend time with. This would have a direct impact on our success, happiness, peace, prosperity and health.

So whom do you choose to associate with?



About Karan Gandhi

HR Professional with expertise in learning & development, employee engagement, counseling and training. Likes reading, music, blogging, gadgets and movies. Follows current affairs.
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