I spent most of my career working for a pharmaceutical company. One observation I made relates to the recruitment of subordinates. People tend to do one of two things when hiring someone who will report to them. They recruit someone likely to be a “yes-person”. Or, they hire a less qualified person fearing the recruit would be smarter than the boss and take over his or her management role.
The second scenario is the opposite where one hires a person as qualified or more qualified and not a “yes-person”. People who recruit the best and smartest associates end up with more successful lives because smart people challenge and draw out the best in each of us
Proverbs 27:17 speaks to the similar point: Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
A piece of light-weight wood like balsa cannot sharpen a metal knife. If one persisted in that effort, the knife would eventually get dull through normal use and not be effective since it cannot be sharpened by weak wood. There is a life principle in this Proverbs verse outside of recruiting workers.
Select friends who are honest, challenge you to be better and encourage you to persevere when facing difficulties … in other words, select friends who sharpen you to be the best you can be. It doesn’t mean you cannot associate with those who do not meet the standard. Just don’t expect the same results in the natural. Pray for him or her. Let the Lord to do his work.
You can also apply the principle to your spiritual walk, as well. If you hang with strong believers, you will reap the benefits of that friendship. If you walk with the unrighteous … well, we all know the answer to that!