Who you hang out with is as important as who you don’t hang out with.
Although there’s no perfect recipe for success, there are some routines that highly successful people have in common. According to CNBC, they read, make their beds, exercise, wake up early, and thoroughly plan out their days. Author Thomas C. Corley studied the daily habits of self-made millionaires for five years and discovered something important that they don’t do: hang out with pessimists.
“Self-made millionaires are very particular about who they associate with,” wrote Corley, author of “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.” “You are only as successful as those you frequently associate with. The rich are always on the lookout for individuals who are goal-oriented, optimistic, enthusiastic, and who have an overall positive mental outlook.”
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in 2007. Photo by David Gellar/Flickr.
Corley’s research revealed that 86% of those he studied make a point of associating with other success-minded people while limiting their exposure to negative people. “Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mental outlook,” Corley wrote. The author’s research illustrates a fact that psychologists have known for years: Emotions are contagious.
The psychological theory that we catch the emotional states of those around us is known as emotional contagion. Humans tend to unconsciously mimic the expressions of others, thus making us vulnerable to their emotional states. “Studies have found that the mimicry of a frown or a smile or other kinds of emotional expression trigger reactions in our brains that cause us to interpret those expressions as our own feelings,” Sherrie Bourg Carter wrote in Psychology Today. “Simply put, as a species, we are innately vulnerable to ‘catching’ other people’s emotions.”
The good news is that while negative emotions are contagious, so are positive ones. By surrounding ourselves with positive people, we can improve our own chances for success. According to Bourg, “When you hang out with happy people, you tend to feel happier, have more energy, and feel less stressed.” While becoming a self-made millionaire requires hard work, persistence, and a good mental attitude, according to science, when you hang out with successful people, a little bit of it is bound to rub off on you.