Day 5, 6, 7 — The company you keep

I used to wonder what made a brilliant kid with boundless potential living in a Welkom, perform at a much lower level than her counterpart living in Johannesburg. Part of this question was answered when I began visiting my brother in Gauteng. The realm of possibility, sheer volumes of inspiration and role models at every corner, made for greater levels of grit and determination. When you inhabit an environment that abounds with success, your own seems like a matter of time.

So what happens when you don’t have access to great mentors and examples of success? If you were living in Welkom in the early 2000s, you go to the library, read every biography about every great inventor you could find, and spend every bit of saved-up change you have combing through blog posts at the internet cafe. You stay up till 2pm watching interviews on SABC 3 and reruns of top billing. You cut out profile after profile from You and Huisgenoot and carry them in a flip file. You burn hours and hours of music videos and documentaries to DVDs each time you see your one friend with a computer and go home to pour over every detail.

I’ve been hungry for information and knowledge from the moment I could read, and with every book I read, I became less lonely in this universe. We are the product of the company we keep for a simple reason; what you think, you do, and what you do, you become. I’m grateful that with the help of technology I can spend my mornings with Alan Watts, take walks with Maya Angelou and share some evening tea with Seth Godin.