After studying Feng-Shui and Kabbalah, I am convinced that hanging out with the elite rubs off on you. Even Rocky once mentioned something to a similar extent. In one of the Rocky movies he explained to a young girl that if you hang out with smart people you become smart. If you hang around with dumb people you become dumb. He never explained what happened if you hang with people who can’t speak correctly though!
Your neighborhood molds you
If you grew up in a privileged neighborhood, you will generally do a lot better in school, and at your University of choice than someone who got in on a scholarship or from Affirmative Action from a lower income neighborhood. The type of people that you took for granted as a child who you mingled with molded an undercurrent for your success. Those kids who got into college with Affirmative Action might be achievers, and might be smart, but they probably grew up around people struggling to make a living, heard them complaining about their boss, and saw a lot of poverty, drugs, and gangs as well — not a fertile soil to grow a successful person unless you wish to make it in a gang or be a preacher in a Baptist church.
What about the elite?
I am from an upper-middle class neighborhood. I didn’t realize how privileged I was. As an adult I was not privileged as I had to live in semi-bad neighborhoods that were filled with people who didn’t like me. My car was stolen and broken into on schedule every several years. Yes, not as bad as the Bronx, but not great either compared to what I grew up with. As a child, we only knew a handful of filthy rich people. They behaved like ordinary people, but were educated, and a bit high brow. They didn’t talk about business much as they were more interested in academia and the arts — something I was interested in, but not as much as I was passionate about business. It is hard growing up in a community which frowns on business when that is your passion, and your only route to success! Part of the problem was that I grew up in Massachusetts in an area near Universities with a lot of academics. I wanted to be around tycoons!
Changing my environment
In my late childhood and adulthood I met people from Israel and the Middle East who were more like me in terms of their passion for business. Finally someone to talk to. Of course in those days I was a child and had no real experience. I would just listen to them and wonder how I would start a business of my own. The business stories were fascinating and scary sounding as so many deals went bad due to dishonest people who cheated and broke valuable relationships. As an adult, I eventually became successful. I learned that I could mingle with the top 1% by visiting the bars of really expensive restaurants. Although I don’t always meet amazing people at these places, sometimes I do. I met a Vice President of Nordstroms, I met a Disney Executive, I met an Italian Designer who flies to Japan to sell his stuff (they like it more than the locals do.) and others! But, what I learned is interesting. Talking to people has a benefit, but being in proximity to people also has a benefit.
Picking up on vibes
By sitting next to Mark in programming sessions, I began to have better technical thoughts myself. I was picking up on his consciousness without even having a conversation. By hanging out with Walter, my dream analysis skills improve. By working on comedy blogs with Andy, my sense of humor became better as new channels formed in my brain. But, by living in a 40% Korean neighborhood, my work ethic improved even though I hardly ever talk to them. I visit Bel-Air to have meals all the time. That is a place riddled with billionaires. By being around them my finances actually do improve. I only wish I could live there. Perhaps one day I will. If you want to be something — be around what you want to be, even if it is only for a meal. Even one hour will get the feeling of wealth into your bones!