Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

A Binary Measure for Each Person in Your Network


thumbsTruth statement:   Every person that you know and will ever meet will fall into one of two categories. They either (A) bring you up and make you better or (B) they don’t.

Someone proposed this to me a few months ago and at first I wanted to challenge it. So I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Surely there are some people that are in the gray area?  Surely I don’t have to be black and white about people.  But I’m finding it hard to disprove.

Here are some other ways to ask the question:

- Does this person give me energy, or drain my energy?

- Am I better for being around this person, or unaffected (or worse, affected negatively)?

- Does the person have a personal network greater than mine or equal to mine?  Strike that one, per the discussion in the comments. This one is a separate measurement. 

Thinking about your network more intentionally will bring you immense satisfaction and is the best way to change your trajectory. If you want to love what you do, it starts with loving the people you are around. Loving the people you are around comes with first taking an honest look at how those people affect you.


Category: Association
  • Dr. Ronald L. Hollis says:

    AMEN!!! Associating with people that don’t “average you up” is the biggest challenge for folks that strive for success…they want to rationalize their willingness to compromise their success by hanging with weaker folks as being humane….”yeah, johnny’s a loser but he has been my best friend since high school and I don’t want to hurt his feelings”

    September 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
    • Johnson Cook says:

      You just had to use “johnny” didn’t you!
      C’mon man!
      Johnny’s no loser!

      September 13, 2013 at 10:28 am
  • Jim says:

    This is only a truth statement in a particular context and at a particular time. It’s a very self-centered way to view other people and your relationship(s) to them. If you reframe the question as – Does this person have the potential to “bring you up and make you better”? – then it becomes a question of your investment in another rather than another’s intrinsic value to you (at that time in that scenario). It takes work to build relationships and effort to see value in another person. The danger of accepting the above as a pure truth is that your frame of reference is skewed and in hasty judgements there can often be error.

    September 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm
    • Johnson Cook says:

      Put it another way. Does this person give me energy? — there are tons of people who I can help by investing time into “bringing them up” — and this gives me a lot of energy.

      I may have confused the point by throwing in the comments about the network value of a person, because although, that’s a separate measurement, it’s not always in alignment with the “give me energy” or “drain my energy” question.

      Or it could even be simplified even more: Do I enjoy being around this person?

      September 14, 2013 at 7:27 am
  • Jim says:

    There’s another negative aspect to this – it’s binary. Surely not every relationship that “brings you up” has the same value and/or worth. So, if you accept that there are degrees on one side, there must be on the other as well… no?

    September 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm
    • Johnson Cook says:

      Agreed, everything has degrees.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:28 am

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