“Lay down with Dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas….”

December 9, 2009 at 11:13 am (Uncategorized)

That was a comment that hit me straight out of left field. But boy oh boy, it certainly had the impact desired.

This comment was thrown at me after someone who cared about me a great deal observed that I was not associating with the right kind of people. People that your parents warn you about.

That comment has stuck with me since those days of being a teenager and it has served me very well. It’s a strange notion but it’s very difficult for us to be able to see things totally objectively when we are in the middle of it. Thats why so many combat athletes such as Boxers or Martial Artists put so much emphasis on what their corner man is shouting at them during the round. The corner man is on the outside looking in and he has a balanced view. The athlete is in the heat of battle and can only see one dimension.

This really brings me to the topic for this week, surrounding yourself with good people. I think that it was Carl Lewis who stated, quite correctly, that you are the sum total of the five people you spend most of your time with.

We are influenced by their views, opinions and beliefs and act in accordance with them. The two biggest influencers on people’s behaviour are their values and their beliefs. Their values about whats right and wrong, whats acceptable and whats not acceptable and their beliefs on what they are capable of doing too. I see this so much in people trying to achieve something to change their lives. Be it taking on a new role, making a personal change for health reasons, how they treat their partners, improving their financial position through learning new skills… It all comes down to their values and their beliefs.

I have also learnt that people will behave in a way that they believe other people expect them to behave. This really baffled me the first time I came to this conclusion but then I thought about it and thought about how much I had changed as a person in the eleven years I have been in London for, its difficult to go back to Somerset West, Cape Town and behave like people remember me behaving. I also have seen this idea used very effectively in negotiations – more on that in a later addition.

When we look at two groups of the groups that individuals associate most with, peers and family, you may be interested to know that peer group plays a much stronger role in an individuals behaviour than the family does. I read this recently in Malcolm Gladwells fantastic book  The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference where he talks about the contrasts in children’s behaviour between good, supportive families in troubled neighbourhoods and troubled families in good neighbourhoods. It was his opinion that the children from the good neighbourhoods but from troubled families, stood a better chance of keeping out of trouble.

Now I know that there are some fantastic parents and “parents to be” who are reading this and perhaps getting a bit concerned that it’s not just about giving the children a good family base but also its very much about the people who their children associate with which will dictate how the children grow up. Peer pressure is so much more powerful than family pressure.

The end result of this blog today is really just to emphasis how important good people are to have around you. They can make all the difference in the way you live your life, what you aspire to, your financial situation, what you do as a past time and so much more.

The question is, “How do we go about finding good people to surround ourselves with?” My short answer to that is that I honestly believe that you need to be the kind of person that you would want to be friends with. From there you will benefit from “Karma”, “the Law of Attraction”, “what goes around comes around”, “do unto others as you would have done unto you” or whatever you want to refer to it as – what you put out there, it will come back to you… Sometimes even in multiples 😉

Have a PHantastic week folks…. and PHire it up!!


Paul Harrison



  1. andrew sellar said,

    More wise words from the Mr.Harrison…. loving the blog mate, great to have a place i can finally tap all that motivation!
    Keep it up bro

  2. Silas J. Lees said,

    Dear Paul,

    What a legend you are! Those words of wisdom continue to inspire and lift the energy of countless numbers of people; not just those whom you directly associate with, but also the knock-on effect to the friends and family of those people.

    I am so very grateful that I have very good people in my life such as yourself who continue to ensure my game is being raised to a “Whole Nutha Level”.

    Keep going strong!


  3. Corre Myer said,

    Love the blog Paul!

  4. urbanjunglesurvival said,

    Hi Folks

    Thanks for the support and comments folks. I will take this to a WHOLE – NUTHER – LEVEL when I figure out exactly how the functionality on this “blog thing” works!!

    PHire it up!!

  5. Andrew Smith said,


    Wise words. The interesting bit for me was regarding parenting (or more widely mentoring – your thoughts for a future topic?) and one of the hardest things is controlling or influencing somebody else’s sphere of influence which may be flea-ridden.

    As we know everyone is influenced by personalities ‘unknown’. How many people saw Tiger Woods as a good influence? And now…

    I guess the insight I have gained from this has to be true, value-led influencers never moderate their behaviour for anyone yet are receptive to everyone so they never stop learning and progressing.

    I’m new to this blog but sadly have to watch Harrison puffing his way to fitness! So talking about Carl Lewis was intriguing…..but beneficial.

  6. urbanjunglesurvival said,


    Suprisingly good comment, Sir!

    Not much I can add to that really except that people tend to be very strongly value-led in some areas of their life, but I think anyone who can do that in all aspects of their life would be considered “God like” –
    I doubt any of us would question Tigers values when it comes to his dedication to perfection in his sport.

    Tell Richmond to get puffing to fitness at the gym too!

  7. Sue Hagemann said,

    Very well conveyed Paul and true to life. As you most certainly are experiencing, the more mature we become, the more confident we are of discarding those friendships, values and beliefs that do not contribute positively to our lives or the lives of those we love, respect and honour. We never stop learning interpersonal managing skills through the different phases in our lives and every stumbling block is a learning curve. Peer pressure in later life takes a backseat and thats when family and a few treasured and genuine friends, steer the direction.
    Keep writing.

  8. Gary Shaw said,

    Hey Paul, love the blog. Very interesting stuff and a great start to what I’m sure will be an awe-inspiring and very motivating regular read for us all.

    Keep up the good work buddy, I’m so very grateful that a man such as yourself, overflowing with good qualities of every kind is in my peer group.

    Phire it up indeed!

  9. Mel said,

    Hi Paul

    Some insightful comments here. I’m looking forward to more thoughts from the Urban Jungle soon.

    It can be tough getting rid of those fleas so good advice to avoid the dogs in the first place!

  10. niel martin said,

    Hey bigyan

    Geat words of wisdom – its always good to hear positive things, like my company’ values Integrity, passion, pride, courage and family in no order. While we live lets live!!!

    Life is a journey not a destination


  11. Paulo Da Silva said,

    Hey Paul

    Awe-inspiring! Loving the corollary between comabt athletes and their corner man, with us as individuals and the circle of influences we sorround our-selves with.

    Now the world gets to know the Paul Harrison as we know him.

    Keep them coming.



  12. Damon Dagnall said,


    Excellent blog, point well made. I had a very similar discussion with my son (15) recently, which centred around that critical element which has to be present to stimulate thought, direction, to support individuals’ ambitions, etc. in order to bring out the best in each person. We debated this for a couple of hours on a long drive,and I’ll now direct him to your blog.

    Good words, mate!


    • urbanjunglesurvival said,

      HI Damon, Welcome to the blog mate. If you guys were “debating it for a couple of hours” with your Son then he sees very good reason in your arguement and no doubt respects your position. Good on ya mate. More to come!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: