Who you associate with on a regular basis determines the circumstances of your life.
In my extensive research for my book “Change Your Habits Change Your Life,” I found that one of the hallmarks of wealthy, successful people was their ability to somehow break free of the human tendency to unconsciously forge relationships with others.
According to my Rich Habits research, in which I interviewed 177 self-made millionaires over five years, long before they became rich, the self-made rich made an intentional, conscious effort to only forge relationships with individuals they aspired to be: other rich and successful people.
The average person unconsciously chooses their friends, their boss, their spouse or their significant other. They unknowingly seek out individuals who they feel comfortable with and then they wind up surrounding themselves with those similar people. Their associations all have similar habits, similar mental outlooks, a similar work ethic, and many other shared traits.
It’s the birds of a feather flock together maxim. And, as I said, for the average individual, it’s all happening unconsciously.
But, there’s no need to blindly forge relationships that drag you down in life. You can choose those relationships that will lift you up.
You can choose to be rich by choosing who you associate with.
In order for you to know who to associate with, however, you must first know what to look for.
People who can help you create rich relationships have one or more of the following traits:
- Good habits
- Positive mental outlook
- Encouraging attitude
- Fanatic loyalty
- Financial stability
- Hard work ethic
- Individual accountability
- Strong willpower and discipline
- Passion and enthusiasm
Those are the traits you want to look for. But what about traits to avoid? People who tend to build toxic relationships tend to have the opposite characteristics from those listed above, like bad habits, a negative outlook, a victim mindset, and a tendency to blame others for things that go wrong.
When you become aware of the traits of these two disparate groups, it opens your eyes. You will begin to see the pluses and minuses in every individual you come into contact with, which makes it easier for you to decide which relationships to grow and which to avoid.
Rich relationships infect you with their good habits, positive mindset, and enthusiasm. They open closed doors for you. You will find your life circumstances improve as you spend more time in them.
Thomas Corley is the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” and “Rich Kids: How To Raise Our Kids To Be Happy And Successful In Life.”
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.