Circle of Influence - does it really matter?

17 Replies

We have all heard the saying that you are the average of your five closest friends.  Lately this has had me thinking about that.  For me the people I am around the most are the people I work with at my job and my wife.  I work at a low level government agency where the scarcity mentality is alive and well.  Most people there seem to be very envious of others that have higher incomes but yet they would never take any risks to achieve a higher income.  Lets just say that the very things in life that keep people poor is the normal behavior at the office.  I make it a point to never discuss finances at work.

The wife, good person but she only thinks of money as a means to go out and buy more stuff.  Her financial life has been like a boat out to sea without a rudder or motor just going wherever the current takes her and accepting it.  Meanwhile my goal is for financial independence and I don't really care about buying "stuff".  I really can't have financial discussions with her. 

Other than that my friends and family range from poverty to middle class.  I do not mean to sound arrogant because I do not think I am better than anyone else but my financial mentality is just way different than anyone I associate with.

So in regards to the circle of influence, do people really seek out friendships and kill friendships based upon their finances?  Seems like that would be a very bad basis for a friendship.  There are plenty of good poor people and I don't think I should avoid them just because they are poor but I do believe there is some truth that people can bring you down or pull you up based upon where they are socioeconomically.

It does seem to me that if a person was around higher income and like minded people that there would be more possible opportunity for that person. For instance, if someone is a SFH investor but wants to make the leap to MF then it would be advantageous to be surrounded by people who are already there and investing in MF. Then the opportunity may arise to be a passive investor at some point thereby being pulled up. On the other hand if that same person is surrounded by poor people then that opportunity will never arise nor will any knowledge of how to get there.

I am curious to know everyone's opinion about this.

Great Question

The goal is to grow your mind so you can grow your life.   

This is true, you become like who you associate with.   The people you work with are stuck.   No more dream.   

Sounds like you have a Dream, a light that needs to be fed.   

Join you local real estate investor club.   There you will find investors, agents, wholesalers etc.    Focus on the ones that are having some success.   Get in their circles.   

I had friends i use to be cool with, but i wanted different than what they wanted.   

I don't necessarily focus on the money, focus on what the money, residual money can give you.   

It can give you your TIME!

Peace of mind.   

when the money comes in every month you have bought your own Freedom!

Don't just get around people with alot of money get around people who have alot of Freedom as well.   

What does Freedom mean to me?

6 Saturdays and a Sunday!

Stay Positive Wade

Reality, birds of a feather stick together. There is no issue with being friends with a poor individual, so long as they have a good reputation. Make friends with those more affluent than you and you'll find yourself thinking like those in that unofficial socioeconomic class, they can help you through networking. I suggest you keep family out of your business but have them advance your business with others they know.

Knowing people who can actually get involved in business is the difference between beating the bushes for a deal and sitting at your desk having your phone ring.

Join social groups, get involved in the community and don't let it become obvious that the reason you're involved is simply to advance your business. :)

Awesome and intriguing question! The great thing is today you do not have to join a country club to meet affluent friends. I meet a great mentor and friend doing a start up weekend. I completely understand where you are coming from. I enjoy having friends who challenge me personally and financially. 

This has been huge for me, I have cut all negative people out of your life. Once you are successful negative friends will weigh you down and say you are successful because of upbringing, connections, or luck. Funny how some see luck when it is really massive action.

Becoming a part of your community also helps. I love to volunteer and a great place to volunteer and find other real estate professionals is habit for humanity!

@Wade Guy what an epic question. 

First thought: many of my mentors are NOT my friends. They are people I intentionally sought out for guidance and leadership. Every few years my wife and I update a list of the things we want to have, do and become. I take that list and ask myself who out there has all these things and is achieving them in a moral, legal and ethical manner within the niche that I am growing. It seems to take me years to find the right mention and I am actively looking for someone in multifamily. 

As for friends: we don't so much as look for friends based upon finances, as much as based upon a common vision of the world. In our case, it is pretty likely that some degree of success, or at least blazing ambition will be present. 

When I look back at the friendships I find most meaningful, it comes down to shared activity and perspective. I look for people who are going through similar adventures, be it kids or sports or business. Something I can relate to, and someone with whom sharing my journey is meaningful. I love to talk about business, surfing + running, my kids and real estate with my friends. That alone has been a natural self selector. 

I live in silicon valley and work in tech. I can tell you that the difference in perspective and the level of conversation here, versus most other tech hubs when I travel is tangible. The attitude, and relationships that drive opportunities are so significant that entire companies move to participate. It is true on an individual level too. Its why I am so enamored with the BP forum.

As you sphere of influence grows, you should make sure that the growth comes from the kind of people who are positive and have goals and beliefs that are in line with where you want to go.  

That doesn't mean you should drop your old friends.  Although over time you may find some friends become less important to you. This is just part of the natural evolution of life. 

There is a story told by the guys that wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul. The told a mentor that they seemed to have plateaued and were having trouble growing their fortunes above around a million dollars. The mentor asked who are you hanging around with. They said that is not the issue, we have a mastermind of all millionaires. We hang around with other millionaires.  The mentor asked, "why don't you hang out with people with a net worth of one hundred Million?"

Thanks for all the comments everyone. I have been a member of a local REI group here in Houston for many years. Never really made any wealthy contacts though, or at least no one that I would consider more than an acquaintance. A lot of that is probably my fault since networking and "working the room" is not in my nature. I think its one of those comfort zone problems that I need to work on.

@Wade G.  great question! the responses were insightful as well.

I'm new to Houston. What REI group are you apart of?


What's the saying, if you want to lose weight, hang out (or at least eat) with thin people

@Wade Guy  the tension with the question centers around motivation. Is seeking out people that are in an income bracket that you want to be in motivated by greed or a genuine desire to improve your life and that of your family. We all have had those people in our lives that have a motive, normally unstated, they start coming around because they want or need something.  So is putting yourself around people that are where you want to be primarily about the money they have? Or is it about bettering yourself and placing yourself in situations that will benefit you.

Methinks you are confusing causation with correlation.

I work for a very large management consulting firm.  My circle includes very successful people, and without false modesty I will say I have had some success myself.  Is that success a result of my circle of influence?  No. That circle of influence is a result of my success.

I have had many ups and downs though my life. I have to admit when I was not spending time with goal oriented people, I was sinking. When I have been surrounded by achievers, I have achieved a lot more of my goals. My attitude is a lot better and I don't have the negativity around me to bring me down. There for I can go out and present myself better. I believe people can read the negativity in your face when you are dealing with others in that manner. I do associate with some that are not very well off. I just listen and watch to see if they are like minded but need the positive influence that they might get from me. I also deal with a lot of subs or contractors that are just happy for a job, but do not have many goals other than to just make a living. I can't get rid of them but understand that is just their mentality. The ones that are so set in their just "get by mode", I shy away from much interaction with. They generally don't bother me for anything other than work. Some, I see in the light that I have been at certain times in my life, and know they need a chance to learn and grow.

Thanks for all the comments, I read each one thoroughly.  BP is a pretty good place to be around like minded people. 

@Sakeena Andrade the REI club is RICH - Reality Investment Club of Houston.

@Wade G.  

I can so relate to this statement. The wife, .../... I really can't have financial discussions with her. My fantastic first wife and I had the same issue. So here is what I did to bridge the gap in communication one evening...

I took 50,000 dollars in cash and poured it all over our bed and we slapped uglies all night long on top of it. 

It was a very, shall we say, presidential experience. 

@Wade G.  Awesome thread! This hits home for me in so many ways and I find myself pondering these same thoughts everyday…I am really glad you threw it out there…

My wife…Well my wife supports me in everything I do and always has but there are times when I wish she would be the one on the internet looking for blogs and real estate forums like I do…Or looking for ways to build our portfolio…I told her yesterday “Babe, you need to really get involved more and get educated on this stuff…If something happened to me you would have multiple homes and wouldn’t know what to do with them…” She said “Cant I just have you teach me?”…I’m cool with that, but I wish she had the same eagerness I have. I guess I have to work with what I got; at least she’s not emptying out my savings account and bucking against my goals and dreams or spending our credit cards. She executes things I need done and she’s very loyal so for that I am thankful.

As for my inner circle…I have been thinking here recently about deleting my Facebook account or deleting probably 95% of my so called “friends.” On there…Why? Because every day in the newsfeed they aren’t talking about the things I enjoy hearing about. The things that interest me is success, goals, dreams, progress… I enjoy hearing the discussions that go on in these forums. These forums actually motivate me, while my Facebook forum sometimes aggravates me because it’s always the same stuff. Drama…I’m sure you see it as well…Probably the most interesting thing in my newsfeed is Mark Fergusons Blogs on “Invest for More.” Most of these people are people I went to high school with etc. and they just DO NOT have the same goals as me…So why surround myself with their thoughts? Why share my dreams with them, they have no clue nor do they want to know… It will literally drag you down…

Back home (I’m deployed) it’s hard for me and my wife to even find friends that can afford to hang out with us…I’m not trying to brag but I can give you a few examples. Last year we wanted to go to the mountains for the holidays (5 days). Nobody could afford to rent a cabin so what do I do? I paid a little more so that her parents and a lot of her family could come with us…I mean it was worth it I’m not complaining I really enjoyed their company and I always do, but if I had not paid for the cabin none of them would have come. Also when we want to go to Myrtle Beach for the weekend and get a nice room on the ocean, none of our friends want to tag along cause their cheap. Or can’t afford it…

Let’s just face it guys…Whether we know it or not, everyone in this BP forum is completely different from others in the work force. Everyone in this forum has goals, ambition, and they volunteer their experience because they are all about helping each other improve on their game. A lot of the people in this forum are the ones I would love to hang out with personally. Unfortunately we are all spread out. Just stick with what your gut tells you to do. I wouldn’t cut out the poor people because honestly poor people have taught me more in this lifetime than the ones who have money…The poor will show you what mistakes they made and how to avoid them…So consult with them just don’t follow them.

Hope this helps….Oh by the way @Michael Q. you got me beat...I did it with 35k! lol

Yes there is a great old book written by I don't know who about you being the average of your five closest friends. Check with your library. It's a great read.

Growing up my dad was a contractor and builder. He had learned to be a stonemason with the WPA during he depression and was know for the quality of his work and it drew people like Henry Kaiser to do work for them. I met these people as a kid and loved Old Henry, a total class act, sitting by his pool or being in his war room with him as my dad did something on his estate was very education. And the rich fell into three groups, people like Mr Kaiser you would be proud to have on you list of 5. Old money that felt entitled and just wanted to maintain the status quo, and those i would willingly assist in throwing off the Golden Gate Bridge but that would likely lead to water pollution and sick fish. 

The point is your likely to adopt the mindset of your closest people so if that is what you desire make sure you chose wisely.

First off, I hope those were brand new bills @Michael Q. And while interesting to think about doing, probably really uncomfortable.  

I've found that in my life, I have a very difficult time connecting with people unless it is about real estate, or business, or the future, and how to get there.  I don't want to hear about a story about you going up to the mountains.  I want to hear about the flip that generated the paycheck to afford the trip up to the mountains.  

I'm fortunate that I grew up in a close knit group of people that are extremely intelligent, hard working, goal driven individuals.  Unfortunately, our goals are all divergent.  They are tired of me talking about Real Estate, and I'm tired of hearing about how they re-wrote some code at work that reduced workflow, blah blah blah.  But what we love to talk about is our goals, and we hold ourselves accountable, and share all the gritty details and give feedback.  Those are people I want to be like, those are people I want to be around. 

I've found that successful people at REIA tend to be a little judge-y about newbies. I can be that way too. It's hard to come back month after month and hear people talk about what they want to do, and not what they have done. So... to wrap it all up in a pretty little bow:

Start talking about what you've done, to people who have done it.  They will be the ones opening up the doors to you.  They will bring you into their networks, and their relationships, and that is how I grew.

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