[December 19, 2013] There is an idea that says people are attracted to other like-minded people. Individuals who are lazy (those that are obviously lazy) will both attract others who lack motivation and repel diligent people.
The expression “birds of a feather flock together,” means that people associate with others like themselves – they are most comfortable with those individuals.
A number of years ago a friend had a well-educated, hard-working, and successful wife. She began donating her time to women’s shelter and soon spent much of her spare time there and preferred to also spend progressively more time with them. Soon she developed a personal victimization philosophy that men were abusers and shortly thereafter filed for divorce.
Sadly, nothing would stop the spiral into victimhood and now the once successful woman lives alone, without friends or family, and although still working, has been unable to earn promotions. In effect, she became the very woman she was trying initially to help.
I have personally observed this pattern both in a negative sense like this example and positive way also. For example, when poor students begin friendships with groups of successful students, their grades improve. As adults, we have the choice of friends and acquaintances.
There is an important lesson for everyone, especially leaders. The lesson is that we all should exercise due diligence and care in who we associate with and who we allow as our friends.
If we are part of a group of successful people, we will learn and network with success and improve our odds of achieving greater things. If we, conversely, approach friendships haphazardly, then we place our future at risk by lowering our opportunities.
This approach may seem calculated, snobbish, and cold-hearted. But, we are masters of our future – we have control over what we do. Our families are tied to us and we certainly do not want them to suffer because of our intellectual extravagances.
This is not to imply in any way that we do not help the less fortunate. The opposite is true – we should make every effort to improve their lives. What we need to be aware of is the spiral into victimhood and failure, when we cross the line between helping others and becoming like those we are trying to help.