Essays

Productive Connection

Think of your friends. You probably have a few you spend the most time around, and if you're good at this, a few you can go for close advice. In more ways than you probably realize, you owe a lot to the people you surround.

Friends are an extension of you. You imitate the people you're around, get invited to do things they're doing, and determine which conversations you're habitually exposed to.

According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life. - The Compound Effect

Aspects of your personality and strengths are determined heavily by the people you were influenced by, all the way from early developmental childhood, to good friends and colleagues.

Over time, they mould you into who you are. But that means that you can, by choosing your friends wisely, shift yourself onto a better path of personal development.

Second order

But as your friends influence you, your friends were influenced by other people. Through talking with Asbjørn, you'll get a little bit of Asbjørn's genetic characteristics, mixed with his mother's parenting, his father's aptitude, and all the hundreds of his assorted friends he had all the way from when he was just a little Asbjørn, grasping helplessly for love and assistance among his tribe.

Society perpetuates culture, and you yourself harbor your own micro-culture of ideas, thoughts, and expressions, almost all of which are borrowed and stashed away into your mind.

This means that making sure you're surrounded by the right people is doubly important. Not only will it affect you, but it'll affect your friends, even long after you've been influenced. The micro-culture in your mind is important, and protecting it and allowing it to flourish needs to take first place priority.

Quarantine

If, as in the previous example, Asbjørn is terrible at being productive, you being around Asbjørn will probably make you worse at the same exact thing. You'll skip classes with him, miss deadlines, and have less ambition, matching Asbjørn's state.

If you have a commitment to people to stay by their side, which is usually implicitly made whenever you become good friends with someone, you shouldn't abandon them because they lack something. It's important to be there, help them get up when they're down, and hope that they treat you the same.

But you do have to awknowledge their short comings, and try your best to help without getting dragged down yourself. So while Asbjørn is fun to be around, you might not want to take productivity advice from him.

Rough patches

You have the ethical responsibility to be a good person for your friends, and that extends to making sure you're not surrounded by bad people. Whatever good you're trying to accomplish can be offset by you loosing your own way, and the damage that would inflict on your entire friend group can add up to a cumulatively larger sum.

The only headspace you have insight into is yours, and it's naive to assume you can save other people from dangers that you can't see, experience or accurately describe.