The company you keep
When I graduated from Hampton University in 2003, most people who did not attend an HBCU had no idea what and/or where it is. Sometimes I got an “Yeah, I’ve heard of that.” I always assumed they were confusing it with Howard University which has a broader notoriety. On May 9, 2010 The President of the United States Barack Obama delivered a memorable speech at Hampton University’s graduation which has been aired, re-aired, and analyzed in the national media almost nonstop. How do your associations effect your notoriety?
For many of us, our perception is our reality. Who we are associated with is part of the general perception of who we are. Most people chose to associate with people who have similar interests, experiences and/or culture. If you closest friend is known to be a dishonest stripper, one would ask or assume, “What do you have in common with this person?”
Extreme Scanario: If your friend commits a murder, and then calls you for a ride. You have unknowingly helped him flee the scene of the crime. You can be charged for complicity to commit murder. In short, knowing bad people can put you in a bad situation.
The flip side: Do you know how the rich stay rich? Simply by keeping all money inside of a small circle of friends and family. They use the barter system to lower their costs (exchanging legal help for major home improvements) and recommend friends and family to people outside of the circle (a mayor that gives a city contract to a friend/family member) to ensure money keeps coming in and none goes out.
Are your friends more likely to get you into trouble or pull you out of it?
Some of us feel guilty about growing apart from our friends and family. It’s natural to miss the people whom fill our memories. However as you embark on your path towards maturity and personal growth you will find that some people aren’t going in the same direction. As harsh as it may sound, you only have 2 choices: Leave them behind or stay back with them. Dragging a friend to personal growth is as laborious as physically dragging a friend down the street and most likely result in the same outcome… Two very exhausted and resentful ex-friends who have not gone very far.
Increase your net worth by increasing your network. First-hand-knowledge is usually the best way to learn about anything… If you want to learn about Hinduism, befriend a Hindu or if you want to learn about drug dealing, befriend a drug dealer. Regardless of where you want to go and who you want to become, your friends and friends of friends are going to be ones catapulting your forward or holding you back.
Do your friends represent you well?