The other day I did a interview with Aaron Wall.

In one of the questions Aaron asked about how I grew my business. I gave a pretty lengthy answer but threw in this tip also:

I also surrounded myself with successful people. If you look around your circle of friends and you are the most successful… its time to change your friends.

To which a lot of his commentators seem to take issue with… some interesting responses like:

Tom888
Yes, Jeremy is successful. But when I read this:

“I also surrounded myself with successful people. If you look around your circle of friends and you are the most successful… its time to change your friends.”

I also thought he must be a very sad man… Unless I missed his definition of a friend.

SEO Rabit
Have you ever had a friend Jeremy ?

Because it seems like you didn’t.

Excellent interview nonetheless.

WebMarketingArt
I think instead of saying “its time to change your friends”, Jeremy should have said “its time to make more (richer) friends”.

I feel as if my answer was a bit misunderstood. When I said ” If you look around your circle of friends and you are the most successful… its time to change your friends.” I was not referring to how much money someone has. That is just silly.

I know a lot of rich people who are not successful…. and I know a lot of successful people who are not rich.

My mom is a retired school teacher who know works as a red cross volunteer all over the world.

My father is a retired factory worker who started his own fishing website a couple years ago and in the last year started having some really big fishing events.

My best friend from high school – best man in my wedding – and still very good friend is a security expert for a very large national chain.

ALL of them I consider VERY SUCCESSFUL people.

I have had friends that are lazy and going no where in life. They don’t stay my friends very long.

The one commonality you will find with all my friends is they all work hard and love life. And for that I believe they are successful.

So let me rephrase a bit from my original quote.

If you look around to all of your closest friends and realize you are the smartest, hardest working person among the group then its time to get some new friends.

My grandfather used to say… “show me your friends and I will show you your future”. I have a feeling I will be quoting him a lot to my daughters =P.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

93 thoughts on “Surrounding Yourself with Successful People”
  1. i understood perfectly, think those people are just hatin’.

    i like your grandfather’s quote. Surrounding yourself with people who are more successful than you makes me work even harder.

  2. I like to think of it in a slightly different way: who among the people I know will most appreciate the value I can bring into their lives.

    So money people I know, there is so much I could do for them, but they won’t do anything for themselves. So we have no common interest.

  3. It’s interesting that you say you should surround yourself with successful people. But…what if no one gives you the time of day? I’ve been following your advice about reaching out to other bloggers in order to gain readership, and you know what I get? NOTHING. No one responds, no one reaches out, I’m am a nobody. I might as well be back in high school.

    1. time to make yourself more interesting! But seriously I can’t believe that out of 100 million bloggers you can’t make a friend =P.

      1. It’s like I have virtual B.O. Its hard to get noticed if everyone thinks you stink.

        1. Having a positive attitude is important too Christelyn. If you dismiss yourself, others will be quick to dismiss you too. Suck it up and eventually people will take notice.

          1. I understand what you say about having a positive attitude. Believe me, I’m used having to wait to get people to warm up to you–I sometime write for women’s mags, and they’re the ultimate clique. But when questions constantly go unanswered by people who think they’re more important than you it can get a little disheartening. I’m sure someone on here knows how I feel.

          2. This is just friendly advice from this side of the keyboard: reread your post. I could be very wrong, but it *seems*, from how you phrase things, your attitude may not be as positive as you think? You may be prejudging things: “they’re the ultimate clique,” “people who think they’re more important.”

            Like I said, I could be wrong though! 🙂

          3. Duly noted. I admit it appears to be a crybaby rant that stems from frustration. But it doesn’t take away from my central argument. This blogging thing just isn’t as turnkey as some make it out to be. High-profile bloggers associate with other high-profile bloggers. The rest of us can eat cake. Sour grapes? Maybe. True? Definitely.

          4. This is the way of the world. Blogging is only different in that the money barrier to entry is so very low. The time hurdle is still 2 years.

          5. Just tossing out an idea: can you associate with other bloggers at your level and then grow as group to being more high profile? I sometimes think that’s what’s going on, know what I mean?

            I checked out your blog. You’re funny! Keep it up! (Cute kids, too! “Wash me!” Ha!)

          6. shoemoney should provide the report which tell us how much deep shoe is surrounded by other money blogger. who is eating the cakes ?

    2. Well obvioulsy they are also following Schoemaker’s advice. You are not more successful than them so they don’t want to be friends with you! 😉

      But seriously, relationships need to go both ways and I think the moment you start trying to “chose” friends on the basis of what you can get out of a person you are in trouble. I prefer to surround myself with fun and cool people whether they are motivated, intelligent, just starting out, at the top of their career or whatever.

  4. It seems to me that you’re also talking about state of mind — you can have a ton of cash in the bank and have a “poor” mentality. It’s negative energy that just drags you down to their level.

    I’m guilty of it myself and sit around with my other negative friends and just have a bitch session. It gets nothing done and causes everyone to be more pissed off and no further ahead when you started.

    Great post, Jeremy and valuable advice.

  5. Im sure you’ll still catch grief about it from those who see it in only one way, but your grandfather has a point – as does Jim Rohn whose quote talks about becoming the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

    Perhaps another way to look at it is to look for folks who challenge you to think, whether its at work or not.

    Bottom line – better yourself and hope they come along for the ride.

  6. I like this qoute “My grandfather used to say… “show me your friends and I will show you your future”.

  7. In other words, if most of your friends are lazy bum you would most probably end up being one too.

      1. I’ve read several times over the years, from various sources, that bit about being the average of your 5 (or 10) closest friends and I’ve found that to be true.

        In the past I lived in a nice suburban neighbouhood, with nice suburban neighbours. Many of the men worked for the same company, their wives usually stayed home.

        The only goal any of them (us!) had was to retire at 55 and have a nice lawn. None of them (us!) traveled, vacationed or really had much for dreams. Weekends were spent cutting the grass, grilling some burgers, drinking a beer. Week after week, year after year. That’s what life was. And that’s fine if that’s what you want.

        I decided that in order to change my life, reach my goals, live my dreams (oddly I still had them) I had to change my environment. Just over a year ago I left that neighbourhood and started meeting new people, learning from them, attending events, etc.

        My life now, a year later is so much richer in potential, in opportunity, in education, in friends than I’d ever thought possible and the old neighbourhood continues to be exactly as it was and I would never fit in there again. They’re all good people, those neighbours, and they are content with their lives. But I’ll never be content to maintain the status quo.

  8. I think its simply a difference in terminology, I have several successful business connections pr network connections that I might not necessarily call “friends” and then I have several successful friends that of course are also part of my network but they are truly friends.

    Perhaps what you should have said was if you are the most successful person in your network then you might think about changing your network, because IMO one doesn’t always equate to the other.

  9. So true. Another version I’ve heard is “We are the average of our five closest friends”. I think a lot of people focus too much on monetary measurements of success, but there are so many other metrics and ways that we can measure our success.

    Oftentimes people look at the people around them and they think these are my friends, I couldn’t leave them behind because that would be disloyal. However, we don’t realize that the reason we became close to these people in the first place was because of proximity, in other words they live near us, go to school with us, play sports with us, but we didn’t pick them based on values necessarily. Surround yourself with people you want to be like, and sometimes that means challenging yourself and starting over.

  10. I keep negative people out of my life as much as possible! They just drag you down with their attitude.

  11. A very successful investor I knew phrased it a little differently. He said that as you became more successful you would need to find new friends because you old ones would no longer feel comfortable around you and gradually drift away.

  12. Hey Jeremy I like this post,

    There is a lot of truth in it, and I
    believe this is why personal development can be such a lonely road.

    In the beginning stages you are on your own. It is only later when you become interesting yourself that you get a more interesting class of friends.

    In other words my energy, I call it an energy signature, determines the quality of my friends. But the good thing with this is anyone can change their own level of being. We have plenty of free will to do this down here.

    At least this is my experience.

    Thank you,
    Jim Cassa

  13. Yes, that is true. If you want to be successful, you have to surround yourself with successful people, watch and lean how they do and why.
    That is why I am here, learn from you 🙂

  14. Some people are just upset because they hang around unsuccessful people and feel insecure about realizing that. We are all the average of the people with whom we spend the most time. Attitude is infectious and surrounding yourself with positive successful people is a must.

  15. I don’t think it’s so much surrounding yourself with friends who are successful as much as working with and networking with successful people

  16. Great Post, my parents have alwas told me that positve people bring positve and negative people bring negative!

  17. I think success is more innate than how successful your friends are. You need to be self-directed, motivated, an autodidact (if you don’t know this word, the very act of looking it up is an act of autodidactism). In other words, success comes from within. Your own drive/will power should not be diluted or compromised by your friends – and I think this doesn’t necessarily mean your friends need to be as equally driven as you.

  18. I yet to see a poor or homeless that is successful…I dont care how you butter it. successful people somewhat financial comfortable.

    If you need to change friends to better your life, those friends that you changed is not much of a friend if you need to change them.

  19. Surrounding yourself with people who are more successful than you and do what makes them success 🙂

  20. yeah i agree with you…coz when we surround by positive energy in this case success people …the energy will effect us…just couple months ago i left my frnd coz he is have a bad attitude and i think how you live yr life can see from the person surround you…

  21. Thanks Jeremy for the clarification.

    Mr. Jeremy I also consider you a Marketing Genius. For example your idea of *find out the sex of your baby* website. It’s hilarious as well as really a good marketing idea.

    …And this came from your positively abnormal brain when you were planning to have your first child!

    Add to this the local marketing stuff for a dentist and not to forget the ringtone affiliate – even the owners of the company wouldn’t have thought it’s that easy. (I still can’t figure out what was the need to prove to Aaron that making money as a ringtone affiliate is easy?)

    … That said I think God is a bit generous to you as well.

    Cheers…

  22. That comment made a lot of sense to me. People are successful when they find happiness in their lives and not always necessarily the richest people in the world either.

    If all you do is hang around rich friends though the only thing you’ll end up with is being broke, because they’ll spend like there is no tomorrow and you’ll hardly be able to keep up.

  23. He who walks with the wise grows wise,
    but a companion of fools suffers harm
    -Proverbs 13:20

  24. I agree that you should surround yourself with successful and positive people. However, there is a place for befriending people who aren’t. There are times when we can give back to others and try to influence them. If you are in a place where you can do this, it would be selfish not to. How can you influence anyone if you’re not a friend to them? People will only listen to you if they think you care.

  25. I agree with the message of this post. I’ve read this kind of thing – surround yourself with smart, successful people – many times.
    But I can’t say that I really know how to go about this.

    1. I completely agree with your sentiments. It isn’t about how much money they have, it is about “success” in terms of what they want from life, and how hard they are trying to achieve it.

      If you have friends that want something from life, yet are unwilling to plan and work to get it and do nothing but complain, yep, you need new friends.

  26. I think it’s about surrounding yourself with like-minded people; people who will motivate and inspire you to succeed, people who wont let you gripe too long, who encourage and push, who wont let you settle for less than the best that you deserve, who want you out of your comfort zone fast enough and people who have a positive outlook to life in general, people like your grandfather Jeremy..

  27. I might rephrase your statement again and say if you are the smartest hardest working person in your circle of friends, its time to make the circle bigger.

  28. My interpretation is that, if we don’t set benchmark and compare ourselves with others, soon enough we will end up being complacent and that leads to decline and eventually failure.

  29. Your grandfather was a wise man.

    The people surrounding us, and their attitude, are a great source of motivation.

    Or demotivation.

  30. Jeremy I agree with you 100%. I choose my friends wisely as there is only so many hours in the day. Friends with similar interests is the key!

  31. Success if infectious so you’re right, you have to find new peers if your current friends are pulling you down.

  32. Your right Shoe It’s all about surrounding your self with the right people, having a positive attitude and overall seeing the big picture!

  33. Great post.

    It’s so easy to think because we are with our family and friends that we are being successful. That’s what know as operating in your “comfort zone”.

    Sometimes we need to take more serious look at our circle of friends.

    I love the quote at the end:

    “show me your friends and I will show you your future”

    Regards

    Paul

  34. I built my entire business around being near more successful people (world 50). The concept of this networking company was that the very top executives were never around true peers in a safe environment. We created that, and it grew like crazy.

    I talk about the power of networks in my new book, The Leap.

    Rick Smith
    The Leap

  35. I don’t disagree that if you can surround you self with hard working, successful people that it will keep you motivated to be the same. However in any group, there has to be one person who’s probably the most successful and hardest working. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to disassociate yourself with those who might not have as much drive or desire to pursue the things that most of us are going after.

    I have a few people that I still consider friends, and see now and then, and they don’t have much ambition to better their situations, and that’s their choice. It’s up to each of us individually to decide what affect the people surrounding us will have on our lives.

    Don’t get me wrong Shoe, I understand what you’re getting at, and I think that eventually, successful people end up moving on a bit from those who they know who don’t share the same drive as just a natural progression anyway, not necessarily by choice.

  36. I totally agree with the original sentiment. I mean, I only have to think back to school to remember how important a factor your immediate social group is with regard to how you advance. My brother for example was easily the best guitar player in his own social group – so everyone was trying to catch up to him, but his own growth was very slow. It was only when he started to mix with guitar players who were many levels above HIM that his improvement again accelerated. It makes total sense to me.

  37. I think the image is more miss leading than anything else. Other than that those who misinterpret what you said are just too sensitive and there is a common misconception that success equates to money and that’s not the case success is simply getting what you want out of life, and that could be anything. There is nothing wrong with changing your circle of friends if the reason is to improve your self or at least put them in categories such as friends, associates and acquaintances. The people who I identify as friends are all driven goal oriented people and this without a doubt affects me in positive ways.

  38. Yes Jeremy, rephrasing your tip sounds a lot better than the original. Will keep that in mind.

  39. Hi Jeremy,

    I have only recently been introduced to your blog and I must admit I have just spent the last 30 mins having a great read! 🙂

    Surrounding ourselves with successful and positive people is important to us on all levels, it is not just about business.

    I have noticed in my own personal experience, once I eliminated and avoided the complainers, naysayers and wingers so to speak life starting to become more positive and more inspiring.

    Thank you for the insight and positive thoughts.

    Kind Regards

    Jacinta Dean
    (An Aussie mum trying to create a business online while her 2 year old sleeps! :))

  40. I think its great to have such positve attitude for making youeself successful. But it seems little hard for me. I like the quote about grandfather.

  41. Jeremy, I read the Aaron Wall article and you’re on point. I think the issue here is not many people on here actually have the same success driven mentality that you’re basing your argument from so the idea of getting new friends that are going to stretch and make you grow may come off the wrong way… But, it’s true.

    Look at your five closest friends and find out the mean annual income; that most likely is what your income is.

  42. Aligning yourself with other people who share similar interests is key in becoming successful. As in your case, everyone around you also want to become/be successful.

    Another great quote to live by, by Michael Jordan: “To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.”

  43. I see nothing wrong in being the most successful person in a group of friends, for now. As my success and passion spread to those friends I can see the potential there for them to be at least as successful as me. Their improving success then becomes a catalyst for success and positive change throughout the whole group. Any disinterested parties will move on to other things.

  44. Definition of successful person vary from person to person.

    But according to me a successful person is who keep growing, who is a good father, good friend and knows the value of relation.

    If you are taking people successful on the base of money than they are successful on a part of a life circle, not whole life circle. Such life circle will include your peace life, your family life and everything else.

  45. Lazy friend are so irritating….I run and hide from them because after being around them for a bit you feel wiped out and drained…..Energy Robbers!!!! Suck the energy right out of you…..You actually have to protect yourself from them…

  46. That’s true. I hate people who do nothing but complain. These are the ones who leech all energy away from you

  47. I agree with what you are saying here. Money does not guarantee you are successful. However, it is generally true that ‘water seeks its own level’- and this is true with both money and morality & virtues. If you hang with people who concern themselves with the stockmarket, ways to earn money, how best to budget their businesses, then you are bound to either learn something or want to keep up. If you hang with friends who constantly cheat on their spouses, eventually, you may pick up the same attitudes as those particular friends, and not think cheating is a big deal. I’m not saying drop your best friend from 6th grade – but it’s an intelligent person who decides how much time and energy they want to spend around certain people in their circles. I, for one, have decided not to hang with emotional ‘vampires’ as often. I just limit my time with them. Being choosy can increase your bottom line and your ultimate happiness with yourself and your family.

  48. Couldn’t agree more. Heck, some people even move out to Silicon Valley, just to surround themselves with some brainpower, successful people, and ‘action’, in general.

    FYI, the fishing link is down as I type this (didn’t read all the comments to know if someone earlier mentioned it).

  49. Am agreeing with you. Being with good people make us good, being with the most successful people help us to be count in. But i strongly disagree with this “I have had friends that are lazy and going no where in life. They don’t stay my friends very long.”
    Am not sure whether am right. But I ‘d prefer making them (at least helping them to be so) in the right track than leaving their friendship.

  50. I love this post and live by the statement. Took me many years to fully understand its power. It actually reminds me of how completely absurd socialism is. Socialism is like deciding to stay unsucccessful and weak. I once heard Bryan Tracey say “want to see your future? Name the 6 people you spend the most time with…that is your future.” That statement changed my life..I quit my job, met new people and am now an entrepreneur. I have grown more since that statement than I did in my first 30 years of life! No kidding!

  51. Surrounding yourself with successful people makes you learn what did they do to become successful. In the process, their success can rub off to us.

  52. Oh man. Show me your friends and I will show you your future… I am truly scared for some of my friends. I think I have quite a diverse group of friends.. I should rethink some of my relationships– ha! And I’ll never forget that quote! Thanks to your G-PA!

  53. @Blogercise, have to agree with you there? If ten of my friends got together and had to vote on a “most succesful” poll, I imagine you might have 8 different answers (there is always at least one with an ego!).

  54. I think you are indeed a very intelligent man. You have sorted out this misunderstanding so easily. The quote: show me your friends and I’ll show you your future implies a lot. Fortunately in my circle of friends we all work really hard. This has been a top class post.

  55. In Turkish, we have a well known saying, it’s very similar to yours;

    Show me your friends, I’ll tell you who you are.

  56. I couldn’t agree with you more and love your grandfathers quote. I think that first one must have friends and secondly if they have something in common with drive and passion even better. I’ve got a few “life vampires” that weren’t that way before. We rarely meet but out history is something I can’t deny and still consider them my friends…I just direct energy elsewhere. So this begs the question, since we shared a drink and conversation at DK’s poker tourney at the Mirage this year can I call you a friend? 😉

  57. I can’t blame you, you are right. If you hang around losers, chances are you are a loser too.

    Always remember one thing though. The richest man is not the man who still has his first dollar, its the man who still has his first friend.

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  61. Having rich people can depress you too so u need to have control , patience and determination

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