The importance of the company you keep

8463605535_3b63f164a4_kCC image by Navaneeth KN

Who are you? What inspires and motivates you? Where do you get your ideas? What helps you to stay focused and positive?

” … good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people.”
– William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

The entrepreneur Jim Rohn has famously stated that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. He determined that success depends on four things—thoughts, feelings, actions and measuring progress

So who you are is probably reflected in who you have chosen to be your friends, associates, mentors, business partners and perhaps even clients. And all of these will affect your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Does your company inspire and motivate you? Does it spark your best ideas? Does it reflect and express the values, attitudes and behaviors that you would want for yourself?

Or is the person you want to be not the person that you are—because you don’t have the right support around you?

“Communication is the thread that weaves humans into humanity,” writes James Althucher. As a communications professional, I love this quotation. It has so many applications.

Here’s one: our connections to others are what can make us whole and happy, if we choose them wisely. Good company can make good people.

I don’t mean good in the sense of “not evil.” I mean something more like Althucher’s word humanity. A network that nourishes us and motivates us to fulfill our potential, and to reach the full height of our humanity, is a case of good company making good people.

Here’s the next sentence from Althucher’s quotation above: “Make sure the result brings you life and love.”

Communication can be many things: a conversation, body language, the tone of a voice, an email, a letter.

My university degrees are all in English literature, and for one simple reason—I wanted nothing more than to spend my time lingering among the great minds of history. Their company challenged me, inspired me, and humanised me. Decades later, I am still benefiting from their ideas, insights, principles and personal examples.

Do you have a list of people you want to meet? Do you have a mentor? Who in your life is helping you be a better you? And who are you helping?

The company you keep is of uppermost importance. Interesting, dynamic people make for interesting work and an interesting life. The truth is that no one of us can do it alone, any more than a solitary person can weave humanity.

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