Change your environment, change your life

Posted by Ros Jones
on 27th April 2020

Are you wondering how you can change things right now to get different results?

Our environment has a massive impact on us – our mood, how we think and feel, how we behave, the decisions we make and the actions we take.

If you’re stuck at home during this Coronavirus Time, trying to work, home school and get to the supermarket, you’ll know this more than ever right now. You might think that there’s not much you can do about your environment. But it’s not just your physical environment that counts.

The Identity Iceberg

You may be familiar with the concept of the ID Iceberg. This is the metaphor that describes how who we are (our ‘BE’) leads to what we do which gives us our results (what we have, our quality of life). This can also be represented by the formula Be X Do = Have which suggests (going back to our algebra!) that if we change who we are, or what we do, we’ll receive different results.

So how can we change who we are so that we can have different results in our lives?

Who we are (our Be) in the iceberg analogy is the bit that no-one sees. It’s the bit of the iceberg that sits under the water. What we do is the bit that people see, the ice above the water. But it’s the ice beneath the surface that has the biggest impact – after all, it’s the bit that sunk the Titanic!

Who we are is, simplistically, made up of our skills, our beliefs, our values, our identity and our environment. What we actually do – the actions we take – is dependent on these elements of who we are. So, if we want to change what we do, we have to learn new skills, because we won’t do something if we don’t know how to. We have to change our beliefs – for example if we believe we’re no good at something we won’t do it. We may have to change our values. For example if we believe salespeople are sleazy, pushy people, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to sell. And we may have to change our identity – who we believe we are.

What about our environment?

Our environment is the part of our identity iceberg that many of us ignore with potentially disastrous results. The impact of our environment on us is massive. Think back to the iceberg. We know from global warming studies that if the temperature of the water increases, the whole size and shape of the iceberg changes. So in our analogy, our environment does not just comprise our physical environment – where we live and where we work (and those two are currently more and more likely to be the same place right now in this Coronavirus Time and so even more important to get right for us).

Our environment also includes the impact on us when we were very young (up to the age of 7) of our parents, carers, teachers, the people who programmed us by telling us things like how they loved us, or how unlovable we were, that we were great at art, or who ridiculed us for our painting of what we said was an elephant, et cetera. Our environment at that age had a long lasting, apparently indelible impact on our identity. Most people take this to their graves without questioning or working to undo any negative influences on their identity received during those tenderly informative years.

Who are you hanging out with?

Our environment also includes the people we hang out with – our family, friends, customers, suppliers. Research has shown that we become like the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Who we spend our time with may be the single most determining factor in the person we become and in our quality of life.

Spend time with positive successful achievers and inevitably their attitudes and successful habits will reflect on you. You’ll become more like them.

On the other hand, if most of the people you associate with are constantly complaining, making excuses or coming up with reasons why life is against them, the odds are you will be too. Unfortunately, there will be people who are trying to get ahead in life but keep getting pulled down by the people around them. This can be difficult when these people are your family! We must be strong and be sure to spend less time with people who don’t encourage and challenge us to become the best we can be.

Look for people who believe in you, admire you and can help you get where you want to go in life. Surround yourself with people who will create a positive environment for your sense of self.

What are you putting into your head?

Finally, your environment also includes the stuff you read or listen to (or don’t read or listen to) which is why personal development through learning is so important to our success. The massively influential and inspirational Jim Rohn taught that our level of success will rarely exceed and will usually parallel our level of personal development.

We need to be aware of what we allow in our heads. A great example of this is consuming negative, speculative news every day. My advice is: don’t do it!

Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner environment. The trick is to take the time to be self-aware enough to realise what needs to change inside for our outer world to change.

Ros Jones

See also: 10 Top Tips for Changing your Environment during Coronavirus Times




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