We begin to see, therefore, the importance of selecting our environment with the greatest of care, because environment is the mental feeding ground out of which the food that goes into our minds is extracted ~Napoleon Hill
Following my previous post about the physical environment we place—or even find —ourselves in, I’ve realised how important it is to understand that there is an environment that extends beyond the physical and supersedes it in importance, only because you have more control over it than your natural/physical environment.
Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them~W. Clement Stone
Beyond The Gym
We should never operate in silos. Our lives have become more interdependent than ever before and the people we choose to surrounded ourselves with influence us more now than they did before. If you we are surrounded by friends, family and colleagues who don’t support our vision and goals, guess what: we’ll find ourselves in a very toxic environment.
Obviously this is not limited to our health goals, but extends to all facets of our lives. But why is it that whenever we choose to make a positive change, every naysayer creeps out of the woodwork?
Well I believe it’s because those who cannot celebrate your success probably don’t have the gumption, the initiative nor the courage to do it themselves and the best way for them to be at peace with themselves is to oppose you, to criticise you and get you off track, that is the underlying motive. If those around you were truly happy for your decision to change your lifestyle, they would have come alongside you to support and encourage you along the way.
You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?
~W. Clement Stone
That said, if you are the person who has once said to a friend who has embarked on a mission to lose some weight, ‘why are you getting so skinny?’ or ‘you look just fine?’ I challenge you to question & assess your motives before you speak. Why? Well, you can either be that voice that discourages and quenches your friend’s desire to change or you can be the voice that inspires them to keep going when they have yet to see results. You can choose to become a part of a nourishing environment that allows another to perhaps do what you are not yet able or willing to do. Perhaps I’m giving people too much power but here’s a nugget: people often don’t remember what you say but how you made them feel. If there is the slightest insincerity in your comments people remember the feeling of being in your presence and the resulting response: avoid you like the plague! I can distinctly remember comments from people who insincerely said ‘oh Stace you’re too thin now’, this after I had only lost 2kgs. I can also remember feeling like they didn’t want me to succeed beyond those 2kgs. All the while people who supported me continued to encourage me, ‘Stace you’re looking great!’ or ‘This is the Stacey I’m used to, you look amazing babe’. These are the people I choose to send time with. I avoid the others or limit my time in their company.
And since we’re talking about seeds and soil, it makes sense to link it to the concept of giving and receiving, karma or whatever you’d like to call it: whatever you sow, you will reap. So the next time someone is doing something you admire or would have liked to do yourself, bite your tongue and say nothing unless you have seething positive to communicate.
Living from the inside out
Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree~Rabindranath Tagore
The reality is that we often cannot choose who we surround ourselves with. Some people are just there! We have to learn to work with or deal with them.
A valuable lesson I’ve learnt in this situation is to understand that just as you have an external environment to live in or deal with, you also have an internal environment. And in dealing with the external, a good start is to choose to distance yourself from the negative people who won’t change their attitude towards you OR lower your expectations of them.
Take the office clown into consideration, that colleague that often makes you laugh yet chooses to make your newfound weight loss the butt of his/her every second joke. You either distance yourself from the joker or choose to see it as the provision of much needed material to a struggling comic. Build a bridge and get over it. They can laugh at you from the other side of that bridge–the side where no change, no growth and no advancement occurs! It’s all about perspective at the end of the day. Choose to see their response as fuel!
Your biggest enemy is your INNER-Me
You, Yourself and You
More often than not you are the toughest nut to crack, the toughest critic to convince. You are the cynical one, the one who wants to do something but will give yourself every reason as to why it can’t be done. Yep, we all suffer from Stinking Thinking Syndrome, some of us more than others. One of the first lessons I learnt in this fitness challenge was to change my internal and external environments—a day, a step, a choice at a time.
I also learnt to be careful who to share my hopes and dreams with. Select one or two people at first and as you–and others–start seeing the results, become more open with the info you share.
There is no man living who is not capable of doing more than he thinks he can do- Henry Ford –
You cannot replace a thought with a thought…
This simply means that changing your inner environment doesn’t centre on positive thinking alone, it involves positive speaking too. You cannot replace a negative thought with a positive thought, it can only be replaced through a confession or affirmation spoken aloud.
So, if you’re thinking “I don’t have energy to go to gym” trying to change this by simply thinking “I do have energy” is not going to work. How do I know this? Well, I’ve tried it a thousand times. Were it that easy we’d all be rich, thin, energetic happy chappies!
Instead you have to say aloud (do this alone to avoid coming across as a total weirdo) “I’m so excited for gym”, “I can’t wait to train”, “training energises me”, “I feel so great after a workout!”
And eventually your mind believes the confession and the discipline gives way to delight, where you no longer have to convince yourself of the matter.
Here’s a powerful quote to end:
It’s not what you THINK you are that holds you back, it’s what you THINK you are not! ~ Dr Myles Munroe
I’d love to hear from you. What type of environment do you find yourself in that makes it difficult to keep going or get started? What are the challenges you face internally or externally? What do you believe are the solutions to these challenges?
All pics via Instagram and the corresponding account.