Thoughts After Reading The Proximity Principle

Thoughts After Reading The Proximity Principle

The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman is getting a lot of attention and for good reason. It has a lot of practical principles for achieving your goals.

Today, we’ll share some of those principles and our thoughts on the subject so that you can get a little taste of why this breakthrough book is considered a new classic.

Let’s talk about the core principles behind The Proximity Principle!

You need to surround yourself with the right people

Just as the title suggests, you want to have the RIGHT people close to you. This in itself is nothing new.

The famous Stoic, Epictetus, told us around 55 AD that we should only hang out with philosophers if we wanted to be good philosophers.

Coleman takes it a step further, however, and defines specific types of people that we should keep close if we want to succeed. We’ll list the types and give you a little explanation on who they are below:

  • Professors
  • Professionals
  • Mentors
  • Peers
  • Producers


Professors are people who teach lessons in your chosen field. They impart wisdom that you can use to further your goals and by including them in your social proximity you are guaranteed to be constantly learning.


Professionals are people who are already working in a professional capacity in your chosen field. They have invaluable real-life experience that you can slowly draw upon and use to your advantage as you home in on your “dream job.”


Mentors are people who take an interest in and nurture your climb to success. They know that you are driven and they constantly support you by giving you their advice and their help whenever they can.


Peers are people like you who are driven towards success in a particular field. They are climbing, just like you, and can inspire you to stay on track and also remind you that your goals are worthwhile.

You can even set goals together and climb at the same time, so peers are a definite must-have in your social circle.


Producers are the ones who hire and who create positions in your field. Having them in your social proximity is important, as this is where your opportunity to get your foot in the door is going to lie.

Your new social circle

This sort of social circle makes good sense. When we set our goals, we tell first our family, and then friends that we feel will be supportive.

Too often we have toxic members of our social circle that can hinder our climb and destroy morale.

By putting the right people around you, you gear yourself for success, by creating an environment with motivation, learning, and eventually a chance to show what you’ve got.

It’s a sound principle and at the core of what Coleman is teaching us.

Strengthening weak social connections can help you to advance

Okay, so we need a new social circle.

How are we supposed to build a “dream team” like that?

Well, you’ve heard the phrase said before “It’s all about who you know” – but that’s not entirely accurate. Knowing someone who has a connection to a producer, for instance, that has some of the same drive can help you immensely.

The way to strengthen these acquaintance-level contacts is fairly straightforward.

TIP: Make a list of the people you know who can help and who are connected to those who can help.

Start building up new or strengthening up old friendships with these people and you will be surrounding yourself with the elements of success.

Statistically, you can improve your chances of getting that dream job by as much as 58% by cultivating those contacts.

Let’s face it, your current social structure isn’t always supportive. One of the keys to your success is going to be surrounding yourself with opportunities and influencers. It’s not easy, granted, and you will have to invest a lot of time reinventing your social circle.

That said, once you’ve got a solid chance to employ more of Coleman’s principles.

Developing connections is not about favors, but about getting a chance to prove yourself

Now, some of you may frown at the thought of rebuilding your social circle as some form of self-abasement in exchange for favors.

The system is not about getting favors, it’s about building up your skills and putting yourself in a position where you will have an opportunity to show what you’ve got.

You aren’t asking for favors at all. You are asking for a shot at the gold.

There are two parts to the principle. It’s not just about people, but it’s also about places. You put them together and you get opportunities.

This doesn’t mean that you have to move somewhere new, however, and that belief is a common misconception. Mr. Coleman has some very sage advice on the subject of places which we will give you some thoughts on next.

You don’t have to move far away to grow and move towards your dream job

When people think of chasing their dream job, the first thing that you hear is: ‘I’m going to move to -blank- city and get a job.” This is unrealistic and could lead to frustration.

The right way to do things is to find the resources that you need around you. You might think that you need to go to Hollywood to be an actor, but that isn’t so.

Surely, they film commercials in your area. There is probably a theater within a few miles of you.

These are places where you can learn and grow. Preparing yourself for your goals is a sensible choice. There are places that you want to be to cultivate the skills and mindset that you need to achieve your goal.

The kind of places that you want to target are as follows:

  • Your current home environment (which you can fill with reminders of your goal)
  • Education where you can pick up skills that will help
  • Locations where you can gain experience in your field

There are a number of ways to achieve these things, such as local community colleges, internships, or sometimes you can even hone skills that you will need later by focusing on them in your current job.

Imitate stars in your chosen field to develop on your own

Imitation is a good way to learn and to grow. Yes, you want to shine on your own, but you need a foundation to build on.

By selecting one or more professionals to emulate, you are giving yourself an immediate path that you can walk and when you begin to pick up skills in the same manner as those you’re imitating, then you can start to innovate.

Professionals learn from each other in every field. It is inescapable. Everyone who has succeeded had someone that they admired or if they were lucky, a mentor, that they essentially copied until they could function on their own.

This doesn’t make you any less of an individual. It prepares you to succeed by walking in the steps of those who already have.

Think of it as following a road that someone else has walked. Just because they walked it doesn’t mean that the road has disappeared. It’s still there and it still goes to the same place.

Since you know that it had led one or more persons to success, wouldn’t it be a bad idea NOT to try that path?

Once you’ve started emulating those people then the next step is developing your own style.

Pride and fear are the only things keeping you back

Another principle that Coleman is extolling is this. Pride and fear are the primary things that are keeping us from our goals.

  1. Pride convinces us that we don’t need anyone’s help to reach the top.
  2. Fear of failure closes the deal by keeping us from trying in the first place.

Addressing failure first, the best way to get past it is to adopt a different attitude in regards to it.

There are many ways to do this but the simplest way is to see each “failure” as a stepping-stone. If you are getting criticism that is contributing to hesitance and potential failure, change your view on that too.

When someone criticizes you, if they have a valid point then don’t get mad, because you just learned something that you can use. Thank them and keep pushing to the top.

As far as pride, try to stay humble. Ask for help when you need it and realize that there is no shame in it.

Putting everything into practice is the final step

So, now you’ve got the core ideas.

  • Cultivate the right relationships so that you are surrounded by the right people.
  • Put yourself in the right places, where you can learn and gain valuable experience.
  • Keep fear and pride out of your way and when you develop sufficiently, your access to producers is going to open a door for you.

This is the Proximity Principle and it’s a philosophy for your success

Some final word on the Proximity Principle

These are the core lessons and thoughts which we’ve had in regards to Ken Coleman’s The Proximity Principle. If you haven’t read it yet, grab a copy and see what you think.

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