Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Influence of Association: Part One

In my early 20’s, I had some advice given to me that has helped improve, not only my writing, but all areas in life. It’s kind of a broad subject, one that might take a few posts to cover, so this will be the introduction to a two or three part post. The subject I’m speaking about is associations.

Associating with specific people can, in fact, help naturally improve who you are. Let me start off with giving a generic example of what I mean.

                Tate grew up with a group of friends who didn’t end up going to college, got heavy into drugs and alcohol, used crude language without restraint in all scenarios, dressed like slobs, wasted their lives playing video games and watching TV shows while living off of their mom or girlfriend or wife. Tate only hung out with this group of friends. He has goals of being accepted into Harvard University, receive a PHD, start a (legal) corporate business, and donate half of his yearly earnings from his successful business to charity researching ways to cure breast cancer.
Tate with not so good friends.

Now, given that scenario, what are the chances Tate is actually going to accomplish his lofty goals if he stays with the mentioned friends throughout the whole process? Not very.

Now let’s put a spin on that scenario. Let’s say that Tate’s group of friends were all 4.0 GPA high school graduates; all were enrolled in advanced college courses before even out of high school; all had a high awareness of intellectual or philosophical literature such as Milton, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, religious philosophies, or other influential works; were all accepted into Harvard University; constantly graduated first in their class in college through each degree; all were on the dean’s list; each had a healthy physical, mental, spiritual, moral, sexual lifestyle; and were generally regarded by those who know them as an, “upright, productive, and highly successful citizen and individual.”
Tate with good friends.
 Would Tate’s goal of receiving a PHD from Harvord, starting a corporate level business, and donating half of his yearly earnings from his successful business to charity be so farfetched anymore? No. And why is that? Because your friends (as much as our increasingly individualistic/independent society would like you to think that you alone control who you become) generally do play a part in shaping you, for good or bad.

I’ll continue on this thought tomorrow.

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