While I was at school, my father had told me that ‘जैसी संगत, वैसी रंगत’ (We tend to adorn the colors of the people we are in company of.) I had some doubt in my mind and was of the view that if your own values and ethics are very strong, it doesn’t matter with whom you sit, chat and roam around. But now after 35 years of experience in the professional world and with active participation in the society, I believe that a simple relationship of ‘Hello’ ‘Hi’ or ‘Namaskar’ is OK with anyone. But as you spend more and more time with anyone, you unknowingly absorb the traits of other people.
It is very natural that when human beings become a part of some friend circle or social circle and continue to spend good amount of time together, they begin to mimic and copy each other’s personalities, activities and even preferences. So the effort should be always to spend time with decent, successful, spiritual, humble, cheerful, honest and socially respected people.
The fact is if you want to become a billionaire, why should you be in the company of paupers? If you want to become a great sportsperson, you can’t be in the company of lazy people who have never seen a jogging track.
I know two of my acquaintances for whom I had great regards for their sober and decent attitude and they belonged to very good families too. We all were staying in the same mohalla at Jammu. Then these two casual friends of mine got into a circle of three or four friends who were considered the ‘street dada types’ who will spend hours at the street corner called ‘Adda’ and Punjabi abuses were part of their vocabulary.
I felt bad that these two highly decent people were getting into the wrong company. I tried a bit to wean them away from the other circle that I regarded as a bit anti-social type. But the attraction towards that type of brash behaviour with a cigarette in their hands was more attractive than my simple submissive nature. And after sometime, I came to know that these two teetotaller chaps not only started drinking too but tried drugs too at times.
Within a span of less than two years, I saw the deterioration in the behaviour of these two friends. They were now seen fighting even at their homes with their family members. Their reputation in the mohalla had gone down. I saw the bitter truth with my own eyes: “We are as Good as The Company We Keep”.
Do you know that there is a small village named Madho Patti in district Jaunpur in UP with only 75 households and almost every house has an IAS/IPS officer. It is said that in 1952, one Indu Prakash got the second rank in the civil services exam to become an IAS. It was a big event and an honour for the small desolate village but then it inspired the younger lot to that extent that this village became a great fertile ground for numerous IAS and IPS officers. And this spirit for competing for one of the toughest competitions in India became contagious in this village.
So spending time with good people will make you good. If you want to become a great businessman, look for the company of great business people. Spend more and more time with such greats. You will get the ideas. You will learn the secrets of the trade through their personal experiences.
If you wish to become a great scientist with patents and inventions in your name, it is better that you look for the company of such great innovative people. You will have to spend more time in the laboratories and in the libraries than at the road side café. And even if you sit at the café, it should be in the company of people with similar tastes so that your time at café is better utilized through intellectual exchange.
Most us would like to find people who value and cherish the same things that we do. But it is not that easy. It may still be a worthwhile investment of time to search for people whom we would love to emulate. So when you do find such people, make all efforts to know them well. And once you have understood them, let them into your world, learn from them, support them and stand up for them.
If you find truly quality great individuals then they are worth your effort and investment. Take all the necessary steps to build and bind your relationship together for such great companions. These relationships are then lifetime and they decide your destiny also sometime.
So it is highly important that you weigh all the pros and cons before you embrace anyone for a long time relationship. You may have to look at their past record, their present activities and their social standings. Be fully convinced that this is what you have been looking for. Be assured that your parents, your wife and your children will be proud of you with this association. And if one day your persona is exactly like that of the person in question, you shall be proud of yourself, then put all efforts to start the relationship and nurture it for a long term association.
In nutshell, it is you who decide your destination and thereby your destiny. Then you just be on the lookout for such people who are either already there or on the way to their destination. Booker T Washington said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
If you feel that there is some sense what I have written here, don’t forget to share with your children, your brothers and sisters and your younger colleagues. Also keep a close watch on the friend circle of your teenage children and your junior employees particularly those who are handling some sensitive information about your organization.
Your timely advice may help someone. Let us do our duty but remember what Jim Henson said, “The attitude that you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from, more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better. Don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding to your growth. Your destiny is too important.