In a previous post "You need to travel more... your brain needs it!" I spoke about the benefits of travel, and not only on the health benefits but also the psychological effects getting out of your normal environment can have.
In today's post I want to explore the 3 key areas of environment, their effect on us, and how they are a determining factor for success or failure in all that we do.
ENVIRONMENT - (Surroundings)
the conditions that you live or work in and the way that they influence how you feel or how effectively you can work: The office is quite bright and airy - it's a pleasant working environment. As a parent you try to create a stable home environment.
However, most people are not aware of the importance it really plays.
Our environment is a very subtle thing, yet its impact is extremely powerful.
Most would not even consider that their surrounding influences have anything or little to do with their results and choose to blame their genes and explain themselves away in an “I’m made that way” attitude.
Certainly our genes play a huge part of our make-up and behavior, and would back up the ongoing Nature versus Nurture debate that believes that human behavior is simply the result of a person’s genes or heredity.
On the other side of the equation though, we cannot dismiss our environment.
We are all aware of what happens to youths that are exposed to and hang out with the ‘wrong crowd’.
Or imagine what would your life be like if you were born in a different country in a different era – say 100 years ago?
In fact, take me, British born but left the UK 35 years ago and for most of that time, I’ve lived in Greece. I know for sure that my thinking and my attitudes are now definitely not 100% British – how could they be?
I’ve lived in a completely different environment to my British family. This is noticeable in my attitudes and conversations. So what’s different?
Well there is the other side of the debate Nature versus Nurture which is Nature via Nurture
Without getting into too deep water, and to keep things simple (is that possible in life?) we should also explore the concept promoted by Matt Ridley, a genome researcher, in his book Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and what makes us Human.
In his theory, he supports that genes depend on nurture (care), and genes need nurture.
He is basically saying that as humans we are born ready (genetically) to learn certain things.
E.g. a baby will learn to speak, not only because it is born with the ‘genetic’ ability, but because it is taught (which is nurturing/caring).
A dog will certainly learn new tricks, but no matter how hard you try to teach it to speak, it will not because it does not have the ‘speak’ gene, so to speak (excuse the pun).
That’s why we are all so different and ultimately ‘Unique’ because of the infinite combination of the genetic and environmental factors that make us individuals.
I like this explanation and quote by Jerome Kagan, Professor of Development Psychology
“Genes and family may determine the foundation of the house, but time and place determine its form.”
The air and water where people, animals and plants live
The situation that you live or work in, and how it changes how you feel
To keep things simple and practical all you need to keep in mind about your environment is that there are 3 key types: Physical, Mental and People.
1. Your Physical Environment
a. Your Body
b. Surroundings: Aesthetics, Ergonomic, Climate, Inspiring (nature, views)
c. Technology: mobile phones, landlines, Cars, Computers, Online systems
2. Your Mental Environment
a. Television, Radio, Movies
b. Social media, Internet
c. Books, magazine – written word
d. Old beliefs and conditioning
a. Family, Friends
b. Spouse/Significant Partner
d. Mastermind Group
e. Business Team: Virtual team/outsourced labour.
What does this all mean, and how this affects me, you may well be asking.
If you look at each group separately and make a ‘mental’ checklist would you mark positive or negative next to each type and subtype of environment?
Would you say that your environment is ‘Optimized’ for your success, or failure?
For example, let’s take your body. You are trying to lose weight, so you get geared up for the new diet, and for first days you are doing fine until you get that energy surge and hunger attack.
So you head off to raid the cupboards and throw willpower out of the window when you reach for that bag of cookies or crisps/potato chips (or whatever ‘naughty’s’ you have piled up). You got the quick fix, but not only was it detrimental to your health, but also to your success, self-esteem, confidence and self-image.
What would you have done if the cupboard was empty of such temptations?
Simply, you wouldn’t have gone astray and you’d have made a healthier choice which would help you with your ultimate goal of losing those extra kilos, which will be you feel oh so much better about yourself.
The moral of the story …
You have to set yourself up for success.
You have to Optimize Your Environment.
In the weight loss issues, you would rid the cupboards and then not replenish stocks of the things that will jeopardize you. Stop testing your willpower, it’s a too strong a competitor.
Who do you think will be more efficient and inspired?
The person that works from a clear and tidy desk, with nice surroundings and view or someone sat in a corporate windowless cubicle, or someone who has to dig 5 foot, then level off to find their desk?
I know we don’t always have the full options and ideal situation available, but we can always choose to improve our surroundings to inspire and cheer us up.
Only yesterday did I clear up my desk and filed a pile of papers. I get to a stage when I can no longer work when there is a mess. I want success, so I optimize for success.
What are you watching, reading and listening to on a daily basis?
Remember your mind is listening to every thought you make, and all that you are hearing on a conscious and unconscious level.
If you are watching horror movies or reading violent crime stories, or watching the news each night for hours on end, what do you think is happening in there?
What messages are getting through?
Firstly and foremost you are exposed to very negative behaviors which affect us dramatically and bring us down energetically.
Try and remember a time you listened to some classical music e.g. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, how could your emotions and vibes not soar?
Or remember that feeling after reading an inspirational, meaningful novel or a poignant love story.
Let’s not forget the ‘sob stories’ and ‘drama diarrhoea’ on social media?
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn.
A very powerful yet true quote by Jim Rohn. Whilst it is not always possible to be around happy and positive people, you really should make it your choice.
Negative people bring you down in more ways than one.
How do you think a person that lives with a miserable spouse feels every day, especially if add verbal abuse to the equation?
We've all heard about the severe consequences of staying put in an abusive relationship. I’m not addressing the reason they stay here, but just to get you thinking of the negative effects this kind of environment has on the mind, body and heart of this person.
How would their self-esteem be, or their feeling of self-worth?
You’ll have heard the popular saying that “you can choose your friends but not your family”. Luckily that's true.
Whilst you cannot deny your family members existence, you can choose how much time you spend with them, and limit to the bare essential social family do’s weddings, christenings and... funerals.
Just because they are family doesn’t mean you have to socialize with them.
Friends, on the other hand, are probably your friends because you have mutual understandings, values, beliefs and tastes – that’s why you’re friends right?
If however, you feel a friend has moved on or away from you, or you are just not on the same wavelength anymore, then move on. If they are on a downer, they will bring you down too.
The natural progression of life is to grow; physically, emotionally and spiritually.
A great way for this is to surround yourself with others that are or ‘growing’ too. This could be by working with a Coach or Mentor or get involved in a Mastermind group, join activities with others that share your beliefs and are like-minded and motivated too.
Look for opportunities to be with other inspirational, like-minded and positive people. The more you are with this type of people, the universal laws will attract more of the same. When this happens, you will suddenly realize that some of those ‘negative’ friends no longer show up…
In your professional life, it’s also important to work with people whom you admire, have rapport with and are uplifting. I know it’s not always your choice when it comes to work colleagues if you work for a corporation or for someone else.
If you are a business owner you must always choose to work with a partner or select team members based on mutual values and work ethics for the relationship to work well.
Whenever you are experiencing a challenge in some area of your life, don’t discount your surroundings.
Stop and run over the checklist above and see if there is an area that doesn’t cross the ‘Optimized’ box.
I think you will now have a much better picture on why I place such a lot of importance on environment.
That’s why I’m a huge fan of retreats; participating in or hosting them.
Retreats tick off all the boxes for an Optimized Environment:
Changing your environment opens up new possibilities and opens you up to see things from a whole new perspective.
You meet like-minded people, you are in a safe and inspiring location, and you get to grow mentally and spiritually.
What could be better? It is certainly an experience you should invest in or ‘gift’ yourself on a regular basis.
Get on my RETREAT WAITLIST to be the first to receive the dates and details and the option to secure your spot in one of my Group Retreats, and/or Private 1-2-1 Retreat Intensives at Early Registration Prices!
CLICK HERE: LET ME KNOW THE DATES!
In closing, did you recognize any areas of your environment that are not as ‘optimized’ as they could be?
How well optimized is your Physical, Mental and/or People Environments?
What’s one action you could take today to optimize your Environment?
I’d love to hear your comments and what you choose to optimize!