Came across the saying 'You are the average of the five people you constantly interact with.' And it struck me, why I've always craved the company of people far sharper than me. In this, I've been called obtuse, rude, insensitive, but that's probably because I wasn't going about it the right way.
There is a grain of truth in the fact that your interactions shape a lot of your personality. I've always enjoyed intellectually stimulating conversations. I've pondered for answers to questions over nights. I've felt the thrill of reaching the optimum solution in a situation of crisis.
So what does this mean?
To me, it means, find the sharpest people in your trade you'll ever meet. Then get to work with them at all costs. For free, if it's worth it.
It's the value-ad for you seek that is a greater reward than the value you'll provide to them. The take-off is in similar proportions too.