The people we spend time with on a regular basis, or those with whom we are in close ‘proximity’, are ultimately the people that influence us the most. It’s a very simple concept, but one that has substantial repercussions (good and, at times, bad).  Some of the smartest thinkers of our times, including Tony Robbins, emphasizes this concept on a regular basis. Thankfully, we are ultimately in control of with whom we keep company and that gives us power. Think about all the applications of this in your life, and, importantly, your ability to control it. It’s very simple: if you want positive change and inspiration in your life, surround yourself with the people who embody those things (and, simultaneously, distance yourself from people who influence you in a undesirable ways).

Consider your life. Are you similar to the people who you have spent the most time with, and are those who are in regular and close proximity to you similar to you? Have you been affected by a group of friends, peers, work colleagues or family members? Have you felt inspired or perhaps discouraged? Has your proximity taught you good habits or habits you’re not proud to have? I’m sure we can all share stories, both good and bad.

After a number of years of considering the impact of this, I’ve become increasingly conscious of my ‘proximity’. I realize that I want to be inspired by my peers and, in turn, aspire to be a positive influence in their lives. This particularly applies to the people that I allow close to me (friends, business associates, and, of course, my wife). And, I’ve written about this in a slightly different context in the past: Real or Artificial Friends?

Consider some a simple example / scenario:  If your significant other (‘SO’) is a healthy eater, you’ll likely adjust your diet partially in a similar fashion. If that same SO exercises regularly, you’ll likely do more of that as well. And, if that person choses to read books more than watching television, you’ll also likely feel more motivated to fire up the Kindle more frequently. These are all good habits and they’re supported / endorsed by your most proximate relationship: your SO.

Even if you have a tendency to eat heavier, fatty foods and perhaps you have a lingering cigarette habit that’s hard to quit, your SO’s influence (simply by proximity) will tacitly help you embrace better/ healthier habits — simply by being around a style of behavior that is consistent. The question is whether you want to improve yourself or not.  As we all know, Misery (or, Happiness) loves company! If you choose to improve aspects of your life, isolate them, define them and, as much as possible, surround yourself with people who demonstrate mastery, frequent application or at least familiarity with these disciplines. If you are wondering why you lack certain discipline or have certain bad habits, investigate if whether those in proximity to you are influencing you one way or another. This is the power you have – so, pick how you’d like to be influenced.

Some of the smartest authors and influencers, like Tony Robbins (, speak about and practice this concept. Perhaps you should too. I 100% agree and think it’s a discipline that will make all of us Smarter Sooner. Good luck!


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