One of the smartest people I know is a friend I've had since 6th grade. In 6th grade, I was a new kid in a new school. A couple of weeks into the year, I got into a tussle with another kid on the playground - I think it was over at the teeter-totters... I don't remember exactly how it started, but it ended in blows. Back in those days, kids who got into fistacuffs could end up friends and that's exactly what happened. "Doug" became a lifelong friend.
Doug was, even back then, smart as can be, but the thing that made him special was his curious nature... about everything. I remember numerous occasions when he we would be having a discussion about some issue, whether it was politics or how turbo worked, and if he didn't have answers, by the time I saw him again, he did. Not only was he curious, but he acted on that curiosity, which, before the internet, meant you hoofed it to the library and looked up books and periodicals in the card catalog - information was not a click away the way it is now.
Fast forward almost 30 years and Doug is now involved with the Mars exploration missions and lives in California, so we don't meet often, but when we do he is as inquisitive as ever. He enthusiastically talks about the work he does and, just as enthusiastically, pumps me with questions about my work as a teacher and trainer. A cynical person might observe his curiousity and think it was faked, but I assure you it was not and is not. I have never known a friend as full of vitality and proactive in his relationships and work as Doug. A great role model to live up to.
Strive to find and cultivate postive relationships whether they are online or off. The internet provides an opportunity for networking and community-building heretofore unseen in history and it can be a challenging task to find a niche. Remember that success and intelligence are not the sole property of positive people. The internet is peppered with message boards and sites that do little more than slap each other on the backs and talk about how stupid the rest of the world is - avoid them. Find sites where constructive criticism is sought out and given, thoughtful questions are respected, and the atmosphere is open and sharing.
In your life, there are many people that are positive influences - people that make life enjoyable and educational, people who are professional and caring. There are also many who drain you - tire you mentally and physically from anger, anxiety, and drama. At work, in the gym, and in life, surround yourself with positive people - people you respect, people you'd like to be. Do you want to be like your friend who has a mean sense of humor, or the one who's constantly bitching about how he gets passed over always when it's promotion-time - or would you like to be like your friend who is happy with his lot and yet still passionate about improving it? It's nice to be needed, but we all need people who will fill us with positivity when the going gets tough, not wallow in the mud with us.