By Troy Vincent

There are so many stories that we can recall where a good kid thought he or she could change someone’s questionable character, and ends up being influenced in a negative way.

A speaker discussing successful marriages once made the tongue-in-cheek statement, “When a man sees a woman he wants to marry, he wants just what he sees. No changes. When a woman sees a man she wants to marry, she sees a project and what she wants to change.” While this may or may not be true, the concept of being equally yoked–that is, having similar beliefs about faith, character, ethics, and morals—holds true. If your fundamental character is not in alignment with your significant other, the inevitable will happen—conflict.

It’s also true for all other parts of our lives. If you show me the company you keep, I can tell you your future. Surrounding yourself with exceptional people, who are unselfish, good hearted, wise, positive and motivated will call you to accountability and lead you to be better in all aspects of your life. Keeping company with those who are unmotivated, selfish and self-centered, negative, jealous, and impetuous leave you with little encouragement to be all that you can be. This is as much accurate in your personal life as it is in your professional life.

In his book “Good Company,” Atlanta Falcons owner and founder of Home Depot Arthur Blank shares a foundational belief about how the principles of tikkun olam (making the world a better place by doing our part), taught to him by his Jewish mother, guided his success both personally and professionally.  Mr. Blank wrote: “And I believe that companies—good companies—can play an outsized role in that sacred effort to repair the world and lift up humanity. In doing what’s right by your customers, your associates, your community, and society as a whole, your business can become an agent of change. If you establish and tirelessly maintain a culture of doing good, you will without a doubt do well, for yourself and for the larger community.”

By doing our part, we can be world-changers. We can aspire to new heights and inspire others. Whether it is the company you keep or the company for which you work, doing the right thing and using every experience to make yourself and the world around you better is a worthy endeavor. We all have dreams. Many try to accomplish those dreams on their own. Some succeed, many do not. There is great blessing in achieving our dreams when there are others who have helped us along the way. It is a blessing for the one attaining the dream, and it is a blessing for those who were in support.

Use wisdom and be extremely selective in choosing your friends and associates. Your relationships, the company you keep, will no doubt influence the direction of your life. Choose your company wisely.