It was my junior year in high school. Like most nights, I was at a friend’s house smoking weed. After smoking some especially good weed, time stopped. I had a moment of clarity.

I looked around the trailer. “This is what’s to become of me?”

My friends would call. I wouldn’t call them back. I summarily ended relationships with 5 of my closest friends.

I was too young to realize it, but I had stumbled upon a major pillar of life success.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn

Consider, for example, this study on fat people:

Wondering why your waistline is expanding? Have a look at those of your friends. Your close friends can influence your weight even more than genes or your family members, according to new research appearing in the July 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The study’s authors suggest that obesity isn’t just spreading; rather, it may be contagious between people, like a common cold.

That may seem abstractly shocking. How could having fat friends make me fat? They don’t peer pressure me into eating.

We are what we do. We are not what we think, or what we feel, or what we say, we are what we do. – Gordon Livingston

A person didn’t just become fat, by the waving of some magician’s wand. The fat person chose to be fat. He made bad choice after bad choice. The person is fat because of what he does.

Your four fat friends call you to go out to eat, and you agree. The fat guys are not going to hit up a sushi joint. they’re going to want to go to Marconi Grill or Cheesecake Factory.

Because you’ve been conditioned to be polite, you’re going to eat at a shit restaurant with these people. Because of the framing and anchoring cognitive biases, your food choice will be based on what your fat friend orders. “I’ll eat some spinach and artichoke dip, as that’s not nearly as bad as the appetizer platter he ordered.”

Suddenly your own waistline has swelled. You might not be as fat as your four friends, but they have made you fatter.

The opposite is true. If your friends are fit, you’ll be fit, too. On a Saturday afternoon, your friends will be at the gym and then eating light meals. If you want to hang with them, you’re going to go where they want to go.

Suddenly you’re in better shape.

If you’re out with guys who approach women, you’re going to approach more women. Even if you don’t approach as often as your friends, you’ll still have access to more women than you would if your guys were cowardly beta bitches who tremor at the sight of a beautiful woman. Your average notch count will increase, simply by virtue of hanging out with players.

My table scraps are better than most men’s meals.

Having a legit crew will raise you up. The problem with most men is that they refuse to break up with shitty friends. Guys will complain that their friends are mooching, or not buying drinks, or hiding out when the check arrives.

A friendship is a garden. You must water the flowers and pull out the weeds.

If you hang out with losers, you will become a loser. If you hang out with winners, you will become a winner.

If I had stayed in that house smoking weed, I’d be stuck working some shit job in a shit down town, married to some shit cow and raising some shit kids.

I decided to “raise my average.”

As with most decisions, it’s one we must reaffirm often. I always tell myself, “Raise your average.” If a guy is slowing my roll, he’s out.

But don’t just look at your friends. Look in a mirror.

Raising your average means stepping up your own game. Success is a virtuous circle. The tighter your game is, the tighter your friends’ game will be.

Everyone will bring everyone up. Or everyone will bring everyone down:

When a single crab is put into a lidless bucket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a bucket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themself above all, the others will grab this crab and drag’em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group.

Get away from people who will bring you down. Get them out of your life, and no situation in life will seem inescapable.