During my five and a half-year stay in London I realized that people generally tend to gravitate towards their kind. There are places that are predominantly Asian, African, Chinese. Etc.
(One of the jobs that I found most challenging ever was working in a sausage factory, I remember lifting 10Kilo meat blocks from a cold room and my fingers went numb 10 minutes into an 8 hour shift – But this is a story for another day)
In 2001 on my first visit to the UK, I stayed with one of my cousin’s classmates from West Africa. In the house were 5 other young men. It was clear they were in full time employment because they never talked about school. They actually advised me to get into work since I was going to have to chip-in on the bills pretty soon. It was a lot easier to get work before 9/11. I asked one of them how I would get into work and I was given a phone number and the instructions to me were clear; Call the Job Agency and say you’re a brother to so and so and you’re in. This meant that I was going to do the kind of jobs they were doing.
One morning, while alighting the train at London Bridge train station with my newfound friends, we noticed a heavy police presence. They were conducting random check and it is clear that people of colour will never blend in. They are like a raisin in a bowl of pop corn. The routine check for ticket-fare evaders was thought to be a hunt for illegal migrants and at once fear gripped the camp. As I later got to learn, these young men had overstayed their welcome in the UK and did not have valid visas. I on the other hand was legit, but you’ll not believe the amount of fear that gripped me as well. I was afraid by association.
Myles Munroe (RIP) in his book; The Spirit of Leadership tells a story of a lion cab that got separated from its mother. A shepherd found it, took it home and raised it among his sheep. A couple of weeks past and its mother came looking for the lion cub. At the sound of the mother’s roar the sheep scampered for dear-life, and yes along with them was the lion cub. Environmental conditioning is real.
On my second return to London in 2003, I lived with another group of people. Unlike my West African friends, these guys were more ambitious. They owned and drove cars, lived in decent houses with cable TV and didn’t buy everything from the Pound-Shop. It didn’t take long for me to begin to think differently, to desire to get more out of life. I think the change in thinking was purely because the environment had changed. My association was beginning to speak to my success!
This statement does indeed hold lots of truth; if you wish to soar like an eagle, it is important that you get out of the hen house! To Answer the question I posed at the beginning, Yes there is such a thing as Success by Association. When you discover that you are the smartest among your friends then it is time for you to find new friends.
Here is the Lesson:
The bible talks about bad company corrupting good character. I believe that also good company can have an impact on bad character. In the journey to success an audit of one’s association is important.
Life is better shared. You cannot choose your family but you can choose your friends.