Leonard Lebere- Environment
Have you ever thought about the intricacies of how a seed actually grows when it is in the right environment? Think about a seed planted in a cold place like Alaska, then we decide to take the same seed and replicate to bear fruit in a country near the equator. What are the chances of us seeing fruit from a seed built for the cold, but planted in the hottest places in the world? The answer to this is in understanding that, “Growth thrives in conducive environments.”
I am fully convinced that because you chose to read this article, there is a part of you that has a desire to grow. How important is our environment for growth? Mark Caine writes,
“The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment you find yourself in.”
Back in High School, I loved reading and I remember reading on Goal Setting and High Achievers. There was a specific line I read that made me really uncomfortable at the time as I found myself excelling beyond measure in a few areas of my High School life, what I remember reading was,
“If you are constantly at the top of the class, then you are in the wrong class.”
I quickly realised that the best place to learn is where others are constantly ahead of you. John Maxwell asks this question, “Is growth equal to change?” In the same breath he gave an answer saying, “It is possible to change without growing, but we can’t grow without changing.” So what is the role of your environment in growth.
Businessman Nido Qubein wrote,
“Whether you are a success or a failure in life has little to with your circumstances; it has more to do with your choices.”
The most imperative trait we have as human beings is, “Free will- the ability to choose.” Like many people I have experienced challenges growing up, from living in vision-deprived neighbourhoods to growing up with the presence of a single parent. One thing I remember deciding was not to be dictated by the circumstance I found myself in. I always convinced myself that, “People who are born to change the world won’t find life easy. Their circumstances are there to propel them!” And this is what I believed about any form of challenges I have faced. The first conscious step in growing in any environment is changing your attitude about the environment. A change in attitude gives room for growth that necessary.
If you desire to grow in your environment, here are 6 practical things you need to do:
- Assess your current environment
For growth to occur, there has to be a high degree of honesty and self-accountability about where you are. The reality is you cannot out-perform how you see yourself, so your attempt to move forward and grow won’t happen until you come to terms with where you are.
What I normally do is I journal and I ask myself a lot of question in relation to where I would like to be. I can share a few questions I adopted from John Maxwell’s 15 Laws of Invaluable growth:
What does my current environment value? =Thinking big
What is my biggest asset? = My Attitude
What is my biggest liability? =Poor planning
What topic comes up the most in my environment? =Relationships
What is my most worthwhile emotion? =Love
What is my least worthwhile emotion? =Self-pity
What is my best habit? =Management
What is my worst habit? =Inconsistency
What is most fulfilling to me? =The Kingdom
What do I prize most highly? = People
- Change yourself and your environment.
For this happen, you have to desire it first. Take this parallel to understand:
“Change yourself but not your environment—growth will be slow and difficult;
Change your environment but not yourself—growth will be slow and less difficult;
Change your environment and yourself—growth will be faster and more successful.”
- Change who you spend your time with.
Jim Rohn said,
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with.”
Often our biggest propellers or draggers are people we mostly spend time with. These people are important because they determine whether you grow or stay in a place of no-growth.
I am fortunately surrounded by people who are way ahead of me, leaders who impact people, friends who read a lot of books andhave great insight. I had to determine what kind of life I wanted before I could determine the kind of people I wanted to keep in my immediate circle. Besides my normal circle, I always take time to have lunch or coffee with older people who have seen life for what it is, I learn a different lesson from my encounters with these people.
- Challenge yourself in your environment.
The people who surround you are not going to be in the position where they will constantly need to remind you of your goals and challenge you to grow. That, you have to desire and do yourself. Try to discover what activities can challenge you to grow and be more.
What I normally do is I listen to a lot of online content: interviews, podcasts, TEDx Talks and keynote speeches. Doing this pushes me to work a bit harder and to be more focused on the task at hand. My friends and I also take time to attend seminars in our city, I love seminars because there is always an opportunity to ask questions and learn even more from the person presenting the seminar. This is how I challenge myself to do more! And reading is the most important thing I do.
- Focus on the moment
Like many people, there is this tension about where you are and where you want to be. The reality is where you want to be will come from what you choose to do with where you are now in this hour, this day and this week. Your state of mind for everyday should be, “This is the best moment of my life, because I am experiencing it now!” Mother Teresa said,
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.”
So for everything you want in the future, begin now.
- Move forward despite criticism.
This is so important because I think that this is where many people stop, when the criticism comes. Not everyone will understand your desire to grow, hence not everyone will be in a position to support what you want to achieve. Author of The Science of Getting Rich Wallace Wattles writes, “Do not wait for a change of environment before you act. Cause a change of environment through action. You can act upon your present environment so as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment.” People will always have an opinion about whether you can or can’t do something, the question is,“Will you believe them?”
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson observed,
“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a plan of action and follow it to the end requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.”
Your environment is an important part of your growth. The right environment will lead you to grow in ways you never thought possible. I challenge to find the right environment for your personal growth, it does exist, you just have to make time to find it. Hope you enjoyed this Blog, feel free to share your comments.