The company you keep
I need to be pretty honest, the greatest lesson I have ever learned is that you are who you hang with. Let me repeat that, you are who you hang with. I have never met a person who's friends did not dictate a portion of their personality. It's hard to realize it when you are deep in relationship building. For some, they realize it way to late.
I have had the privilege of having a lot of great people ifluence me at different times of life. My parents and my wife is who I think of first. Second was my teammates and coaches at Radford High School. They taught me that I could push myself beyond my personal limits. I am still great friends with a lot of my team mates from Radford. When I left Hawaii and moved to Georgia, I met people who pushed me academically. Elijah, Eric, Maran, Mac, Altonio, D. Floyd, Dana, and Crystal to name a few. When I went to college, I met Cal, Rob, and Abe, who showed me that I was growing a family of friends. Then post college, I met Sean, Gabe, Ryan, Justin, Andrew, Jeff and Brandon. Every person I have named and many others have had some type of positive influence on me.
Don't get me wrong, I have also kept really crummy friends. The biggest lesson I learned about crummy friends is that you have to stop watering weeds. If you don't want weeds to grow then you need to stop giving into them. You have to surround yourself with people who will not only build you up but also hold you accountable when you fail.
Try not to base your value on what you perceive yourself as because no one thinks more about you than you think about you. What do other people think of those you surround yourself with? If you hang with people who bring something to the table then people will flock to you. If you bring nothing to the table then bad company will flock to you. Hanging out with people who bring nothing to the table will hurt your value. Perceived value is just as important as real value. If you are the smartest, most talented and most successful person in your group then you need to find a group of friends.