Who has a bigger influence on the person you turn out to be: your parents or your friends?
Since at least the days of Freud, psychologists believed parents were the overwhelming factor in how their children turned out. But, it seems like more and more people are recognizing the power of peers. I don’t think this comes as a massive surprise to anyone who made it through high school. Certainly the way you dressed was influenced more by your friends than your parents. We had roughly 6 decades of children who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the previous generation’s styles. Certainly the language you used, the specific words and phrases, was friend-dependent. The type of music you listened to was probably also heavily influenced by your friends. The types of movies you saw, the types of jokes you told, the types of sports you played or hobbies you got into were likely all guided, in one way or another, by your friends.
So why should we expect this to stop at superficial things like the kind of music we listen to or the way we describe something we like? (cool in the 50’s, groovy in the 60’s, solid in the 70’s, awesome in the 80’s, rad in the 90’s, tight/sick/etc. in the 00’s…)
We shouldn’t. Our friend’s influence over us goes much deeper.
Work ethic and success, just like music or language, can be learned through osmosis as well. Of course, the flip side of this is even more true: sloth and failure can be learned even faster.
So, we have a choice: surround ourselves with people who are capable, driven, creative, talented, and likely better off than we are, or, surround ourselves with people who are lazy, disinterested, hedonistic and likely worse off than we are. The choice is harder than it reads on paper: hanging out with people who are better off than you are can be challenging: it’s easier to feel inferior if all your friends seem smarter, have better careers, live in nicer houses, drive nicer cars, and eat at better restaurants. It’s also pretty easy to feel good about yourself when all your friends are losers.
But, only one of those groups is going to make you push yourself to get better, and likely help you out along the way.