Design An Environment Conducive to the Person You Become
We do everything we can think of to model world class performers.
We read books.
We listen to podcasts.
We attend conferences
We join mastermind groups.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s tremendous value in all of those things. I do most of them. But there’s one other path that will increase the likelihood of making changes to your behavior that actually stick: to look at the 9 environments that make up your life and design an environment that is conducive to the person you want to become.
The simplest way to do this is to figure out if an environment is inspiring you or not.
A year ago I got into a bit of a fender bender that caused the mudguard on my car to fall off. It was one of those things that you probably wouldn’t notice unless you looked closely. But it makes my car look much crappier than it actually is.
After a recent conversation with someone who had been quite successful with his entrepreneurial endeavors, I asked myself if he would drive around letting his car look like that. Even if it’s not the fanciest car in the world, the way it’s kept is a representation of who you are.
Throughout our lives, we tolerate minor inconveniences like a cracked screen on a phone, a tear in a pair of jeans, or a scuffed up pair of shoes. But the moment you eliminate these tolerations from your life, you’ll notice an immediate difference. Make a list of all the minor inconveniences that you know you’re tolerating and work to eliminate them. You’ll be amazed by how much momentum it creates in your life.
Your Physical Space
You don’t have to move into a mansion or a billion dollar bachelor pad to design an environment that is conducive to the person you want to become. But you do have to setup your physical space so that is inspiring and adds energy to your life. That means something different to everyone.
- For me, it’s meant hanging framed prints on my wall of some of the most successful people I’ve interviewed. It started with the question “what would this space look like if were producing the Unmistakable Creative in a million dollar recording studio.”
- In an interview with Tim Ferriss, Chris Sacca said he starts his day with absolutely nothing on his desk. It seems as if a clear desk equals a clear mind. And given what Chris has done with his life, it’s hard to argue with the results.
- It could be something as simple as a nicer or more comfortable chair, or a desk that you absolutely love.
My friend Charmaine Haworth, who worked as an interior designer has one simple rule when it comes to your physical space: “If you don’t absolutely love it, why buy it?” This help you not only avoid buying shit you neither need or want and ensure that everything in your environment inspires you.
The Way You Dress
When you work from home, it’s tempting not to get dressed, sit around in your pajamas with a cup of coffee and finish your work. A few weeks ago I decided to try a little experiment: get ready for work, which meant showering, and even putting on shoes. Strangely putting on my shoes made me more productive.
Again you don’t have to order everything in the pages of GQ and spend a small fortune to dress for success. My wardrobe is ridiculously simple, several black t-shirts, two pairs of jeans from DSTLD which fit me perfectly, some dress shirts, and a pair of Marc Ecko shoes.
A really simple filter is this: are you dressed like your’e up to something or dressed like you’re up to nothing?
The Company You Keep
You become the average of the five people you surround yourself with — Tim Ferriss
Are the people in your life lifting you up or are they bringing you down? Does interacting with them add or drain energy from you?
In college, I had two friends who were as negative as it gets. Anytime you hung out with them, they’d bitch about everything and constantly make disparaging and discouraging remarks. I haven’t spoken to either of them in more than 8 years. And my life is not any worse off for them not being part of it.
Taking control of the company you keep sometimes will mean making difficult choices. It will mean letting go of friends who are holding you back.
It’s a somewhat ruthless filter, but you might ask “would my life be better or worse if this person was no longer part of it?” Obviously, there’s no need to make a giant declaration about the end of a friendship. This isn’t junior high. But who you associate with is a choice and one of the most important choices you’ll make.
If you design an environment that is conducive to the person you want to become, you’re much more likely to become that person.
Before You Go…
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
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