One of the things that life has taught me, and still keeps teaching me everyday is that your environment matters. It forges who you become. The person you are right now is constantly being influenced by the people you’re surrounded with. For this reason, being very selective with whom you spend time is one of the most important decision of your life. Choosing the right people might lead you to becoming a person you do not wish to be, which will lead you to misfortune. On the contrary, choosing the right people will allow you to make a great step towards who you want to be.
Being influenced means to be conditioned to behave, speak or think in a certain way, because of other people. The most logical example we all can think of would be that by constantly hanging out with a certain type of people, one will become like them. This is something that – whether we know it or not – we all have to go through during our lives, but I’ll take myself as an example a few years ago. I had changed schools, and had been transfered to a school which couldn’t be described as “clean”.
I was still searching for myself, and didn’t know who I wanted to be at the time. Suddenly, I’ve been surrounded with a new type of people. Still looking for the person I would wish to be, I did what I think most of you already experienced in your life, I (unconsciously) copied them. In truth, I can think of a lot of cases in which I’ve been influenced to behave in a certain way -sometimes behaviors completely different to each other- but they’re all too embarassing for me to say them. Anyway, this was a time where I mechanically started copying the people aroud me -their way of speaking, behavior, etc.. Later on, I realized that the person I had become was the total opposite of what I wanted to be. This is influence.
Good influence, or bad influence?
Since the fact that we will be influenced cannot be changed, how could we use it to our advantage? Obviously, by being influenced by the right people! Here’s a quick trick to discern if the people close to you are of good influence: do they pull you up or down? Are they going in the same direction as you or on the exacte opposite? Let’s take a simple example: you wish this fit body and decide that to achieve that goal, you must only eat healthy food. That’s great, but what if everyone around you tell you everyday: “Hey, wanna eat pizza?” What do you think would happen?
Conversely, a good influence will pull you in the right direction. If you were to tell yourself: “Let’s take a pizza” after having already eaten a pizza the day before, a good influence will tell you that you should abstain from doing it. Actually, you may not even want to eat a pizza in the first place. You may tell yourself that you’re strong and nobody around you can influence you, but I assure you that they do (at different levels).
Two ways to deal with a bad environment
I constantly deal with people that are not aligned with my vision. As much as I try not to be influenced by these people, I inevitably sometimes am. To deal with this kind of environment, there are I think two solutions. The first one is radical: remove these people from your life. If these people are not in your life, then how could you being influenced by them, right? This one may not pleases everybody. The other solution is very simple: engage with people that are aligned with you.
We live in a great era, internet is the best thing that could have happened to us. It allows us to literally speak or listen to people from all over the world. That’s how powerful internet is. By using it to our advantage, we can easily deal with a bad environment. Here is how: surround yourself with as much people (good influences, of course) as you can. Start reading articles, watching videos, listening to poadcasts, etc.. By doing so, you will create a sort of barrier arround you. It will greatly help you against the bad influences.
If I were to take the example above one more time, it will help you resist against the urge of eating junk food. No one around you tell you not to eat junk food, but you can find someone who will. I’m not even talking about one-on-one coaching, but just videos. Seeing videos of fit guys talking about fitness sure is motivating, right?
What is the perfect environment?
I would describe the perfect environment as a force who will drive you to where you want to go. No matter what challenges you face and how hard they are, you will be able to overcome them. The perfect environment is not only a source of power but also a source of motivation. Each time you will feel like you want to quit, you will remember these people you’ll let down. Better than that, if you have a direct contact with people you will be held responsible.
Ultimately, the perfect environment is just about finding the people who will support you in achieving your goal. Choose carefully who you will trust and learn from.
What constitutes the perfect environment?
It can be anybody as long as it has a positive effect on you. I think that the closer to you that person is, the better. In fact, it can be a double-edged sword. If, say your partner, supports you, then It can have great benefits on you. However, not having them supporting you can be a huge blow you may not recover from. This is why choosing your partner is probably the most important decision you will make in your life. Surely, you don’t want to realize after 30 years of marriage and two kids that your partner doesn’t care about your goals, right?
Whether it be a teacher, a friend or anyone else, doesn’t matter. The most important factor is that you should surround yourself with the people you respect and that follows the same path as you. As long as you do that, no matter who surround you most of your time, you’ll be able to overcome them. Never let go this perfect environment, as it will be a crucial part of the realization of your goals. Talking to people like you will feed your beliefs in a positive way. The more you believe in your goals, the greater your chances of succeeding are.