Gary Vaynerchuk knows you probably don’t want to hear some of his most-shared advice.
When Alyson Shontell, Business Insider US editor in chief, asked him about a video he’d shared called “Drop One Losing Friend” in an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “Success! How I Did It,” he acknowledged that it’s hard advice to hear.
“This has been the one that I’ve been very hot on talking about in the world, but I’ve been scared of, because even when you just said that, I’m like, ‘Ugh. This guy’s terrible,'” he said.
Here’s how the CEO of multimillion-dollar company VaynerMedia explains that advice:
“Maybe if you got rid of one friend or spent a lot less time with one friend who’s a real drag and a negative force and added a positive person in your office … If you switched it from 80 days hanging out with your negative friend and one day with your office acquaintance who’s super positive, to four days with your negative friend and 12 with this new person. I’ve physically watched I mentor in my organizations have a totally different life on that thesis.”
Vaynerchuk isn’t the only one who’s pointed out how much a person’s friends and family can influence their success.
Perhaps the most famous example is that of motivational speaker Jim Rohn, a mentor of Tony Robbins, who said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has riffed on that, saying “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.”
As Business Insider’s Melia Robinson has explained, “The rule suggests that the five people you spend the most time with shape who you are. It borrows from the law of averages, which is the theory that ‘the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes.’ We might interact with many people, but the few who are closest to us have the greatest impact on our way of thinking and our decisions.”
“Exposure to people who are more successful than you are has the potential to expand your thinking and catapult your income,” wrote self-made millionaire Steve Siebold. “We become like the people we associate with, and that’s why winners are attracted to winners.”
Vaynerchuk told Shontell: “I think that people are keeping very negative people around them and if they aspire to change their situation, it’s imperative to audit the seven to 10 people who are around you.”
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.