The Importance of Association
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Health and Wellness

The Importance of Association

"Show me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are"

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The Importance of Association

I'm a rising junior in college, and I find myself making new friends every year. Still, as a 20 year old, I only have about three spots saved for my brides maids list, because I've learned that friends come and go, even in college. What do I really mean by that? Well, let me explain to you in the best way I can.

In the past year, I realized that I surrounded myself with people who were not my future. The fact is, the people you surround yourself with set the baseline for what you think is okay, and what you’re exposed to. I’m not here to say that your friends are bad influences and you should ditch them, but I knew mine weren’t going to take me anywhere.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” - Jim Rohn

This is a quote that stuck with me ever since I read it first on the computer screen. I was so fascinated by this information and it made me reflect on whom I was spending most of my time with. I thought long and hard about my average, I really wanted it to be an average of success, promise, loyalty, kindness, and freeness. I have this specific vision of what I want to accomplish in my future, and it was time I started being specific with my actions on how to get there.

I remember vividly, when I joined a sorority and my university’s student government association all in one school year, I was crowded by people of intelligent opinions, fierce motivation, and various interests. I had no contributions to their conversations, so I sat there and lusted over how these people developed such strong character. And so, my perspective expanded, as did the casual pressure to improve myself.

The transition of people whom I associated with resulted directly in changing my priorities and motives, joining multiple organizations, and putting myself out there.

This was a beneficial journey for me. I grew distant from all my old party friends, which was an eye-opening experience for me; partying was the only thing we had in common. When it came to priorities, we couldn’t have been more black and white. Now, it’s not like you should go hang out with successful people in hopes that they’ll rub off on you, because we all know there are lots of successful people who are, at the same time, terrible. Even successful people can become bad influences, and that is why it's not just the people we know who are important, but what we do is also an important factor in determining who we are.

It’s not about getting better at the things you do, it’s about getting you to do better things. How much you get done is far less important than the type of activities you’re willing to spend your short life on. If my influences didn’t come directly from these mentors, it came from the things they exposed me to – books, hobbies, assignments they’ve given me. Consciously and subconsciously, my life shifted.

So my advice to people who have recently found themselves “letting go of what you used to know”: don’t feel so ashamed of it because it happened for a reason. You are smart and you should make decisions that you feel are right.

Even when you are 20, you will continue to develop new friendships and relationships, and if you choose the right ones, your perspective will broaden and you will find your blind spots being eliminated.

The best part is: it’s all right in front of you – creating, thinking, inspiring, investing – all of these assets are just as available as the bad habits. It’s up to you to decide what you’ll spend your time on, but choose wisely, because it will determine who you are.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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