Been long you saw me, I heard everybody’s looking for me…(I know I play too much, I just couldn’t help it). First of all, I want to address the fact that I haven’t really written anything in months but that’s about to change so be very patient with me. That being said, I have decided to start writing about anything and everything because I can and because I actually miss writing (even though I don’t write as well as I’ll like).
Okay, so let’s be serious now.
The company you keep. I’m sure you’ve heard this before or at least something related to this because I for one did — more times than I can count even. So I know the question on your mind, “What does Dami want to say that I haven’t heard before?”, the answer is nothing but I just want to share my story so please stay with me.
My mum, like a broken record, always warned me about keeping bad company. From time to time, she would tell me stories of people that destroyed their lives and even died because of bad company. It was great because it let me be picky with friends but it was terrible because she would constantly remind me of it (which I am still grateful for anyway). The funny thing though is that I still kept bad company at some point in my life, the funnier thing is that they were not bad people.
The truth is that my mother only warned me about the extremes, about people who had lost their lives due to bad company — bad company being people that commit vices — she never warned me about the other type of bad company. The thing is that we are never really warned about the other type of bad company because they are nice people that don’t commit vices. I believe it is partly because of the way we Africans define bad. I say this because once we hear the word “bad”, we forbid whatsoever is associated with it and neglect it and that’s not how its supposed to be. Bad can also be defined as something you don’t need at some point or something that doesn’t have and/or add value, so keep an open mind.
In my first year of university, I was trying to overcompensate the fact that I was bullied in high school. I was trying so hard to be cool and known and so I met this group of amazing people, and me being the shy person I am just went with the flow and chilled with them all year. These people were great people, they had each other’s backs and were nice to me and I loved it so I stayed with them and did almost everything with them. So the end of the first semester came then the second semester, results came out and I had a 4.4/5(which was 0.1 point away from a first class ranking). I was mad, I was so angry, majorly because my classes were super easy and I knew that if I had read some more I would have done better.
The truth is that though they were great people, they were not as serious with their education as I was, and so I would spend nights out with them doing nothing of value when I knew I should be studying. In my second year, I decided to spend less time with these people, make friends with the first class students and spend more time with them instead. As you possibly know, my GPA skyrocketed. At the end of the second year, I was on a strong first class ranking. Now I definitely know that if I had been more responsible in my first year, things would have been great but I am human and at that point, my self esteem needed a fix.
“Okay Dami, what am I supposed to do with this story now?”, learn from it as I learnt from it. There are some people that are bad for you, not because they are troublemakers but because they don’t add value to your life. I know a lot of people that are stagnated not because they are not working hard enough but because they are not associating themselves with the right people — don’t be one of them. Life is truly a personal race, there’s a lot and nothing to it. If you want to learn to fly, hang around people who are high fliers — this is a simple principle of life that people neglect.
Today, I can beat my chest and tell you that the reason why I moved to the technology industry and I’m excelling in it is because of the company I kept in Summer of 2016. I was around people who wanted to change the world, who were more creative and smarter than I was. I followed them around all summer like a lost puppy, but I am still benefiting from that relationship today. People always like feeling like James Bond, feeling like they can influence people faster than they can be influenced, and while this is true for some people it is false for most people.
“Okay Dami, I’ve heard you but am I just supposed to stop talking to these people? I actually really care about them and love hanging with them”, well you have to figure out what works for you. My suggestion though is that you just give them some space and love them from afar — at least that’s what I always do — because I believe your time is very valuable and it shouldn’t be wasted on relationships that don’t add value. The truth is that once you give them some space and create new bonds, these valueless relationships will naturally fade into oblivion. I’m not saying be mean to them, I believe there is no excuse to be mean to another human being but just guard yourself — or in the words of the great Wu-Tang Clan, “Protect ya neck”.
In summary, know your worth and be cautious of the company you keep. Don’t use the term “friend” loosely, be super picky with the people you call friends. Remember that not all good people are good for you to have around. Your friends (company) need to add value to your life, make you a better person and support you. Also, don’t be the bad company — have a plan for your life and set realistic goals. Do as much as you can to achieve as much as you can, don’t let your company impede your progress. Don’t be scared to associate yourself with people smarter and better than you, you’re going to benefit from it. Remember that a man can never be better than the people he surrounds himself with, so mind the company you keep.