When you ask someone what it requires to be successful, they'll probably mention at least a few of the following: hard work, talent, motivation, discipline, sacrifice, and a little bit of luck. While these factors indeed play a role in being successful, we often overlook one of the most important factors. Our environment.
We consistently underestimate the influence of our environment on our lives. Who and what we surround ourselves with plays an outsized role in the success or failure of anything we undertake.
Deep down, we know that environment matters. Why do parents want to know who their kids hang out with? Because they know kids sponge up the habits, behaviors, and lifestyles of the kids they spend the most time with.
Still, while we care significantly about our kids' environment, we don't seem to extend that care to our own lives. We think we're more immune to outside influences, more capable of making independent decisions.
But let's not fool ourselves. We're not that much stronger than the kids we protect. There's a reason divorce is contagious. There's a reason we learn a language fastest by surrounding ourselves with it. We mimic our environment, whether we want to or not.
Every day, you have a powerful choice. You can either fight the idea that your environment influences you (a losing battle if ever there was one) or you can shape your environment so it contributes to your success and happiness.
How to Shape Your Environment
A large part of your environment is your social circle. You've probably heard this Jim Rohn quote before: You are the average of the five people you spend most time with. While you're probably not the "average" and while five is an arbitrary number, it's undeniable that your immediate social surroundings influence you in both good and bad ways.
So consider who you're spending time with. In particular, ask yourself how spending time with a particular person makes you feel. Does it make you feel happy, motivated, or enabled? Or does it consistently make you feel sad, angry, or unsure? Spend much more time with those who lift you up and much less time with those who bring you down.
There's an addendum to this too. Our social circle can be split into two kinds of people: supporters and pushers. Supporters are people who always accept us for who we are, while pushers are people who encourage us to be more.
We mostly surround ourselves with too many supporters and not enough pushers. If we want to create an environment that encourages greatness, we need more pushers. Find the people who constantly seem to push themselves; there's a good chance they'll push you to achieve your goals too.
X-Team is always trying to be the community that both supports its people and pushes them to be greater. It's the main reason why Keep Moving Forward is such an important part of the overall X-Team philosophy. We accept every X-Teamer for who they are, but we also encourage them to always keep learning.
Another important aspect of our environment is the physically close or readily available things that we consume. If you're trying to lose weight, it's not a good idea to have Krispy Kreme donuts in your house. Similarly, if you want to adopt a positive mindset, it's not a good idea to constantly doomscroll social media and news websites.
So we all need to create habits or systems where such negative influences are harder to access or easier to avoid. Curate who you follow online. Stick to your grocery list when shopping. Install Cold Turkey to block particular websites. Avoid temptations until you forget about them. Your environment will gradually become tailored to the life you wish for yourself.
Your Environment Matters
We underestimate the influence of our environment on our successes and failures. So make it easy for yourself: Spend time with the people who make you feel good and motivate you, build habits that reinforce good behavior, and remove temptations from your immediate environment. You'll set yourself up for greatness.