Two people walking together under an umbrella, in the rain, in a street in London, England. You and Your Environment.

You and Your Environment

The Lie we tell ourselves

I’m always amazed when someone says to me or I overhear someone say, that they can’t do something because of where they are at. The job they have, family reasons or even because of the environment they grew up in. It’s the belief that we are who we are, we can never change and what we have is our lot – it’s all we will ever have or get.

But it’s easy for me to say that – NOW. I say “now”, because that is exactly how I thought and what I believed a few years back. I had thought that the only choices I had were to work in what I knew to do, whether I liked it or not, so I could earn money to do the things I wanted to do, to eat, to clothe myself and what we all do as part of a life.

That train of thought, unfortunately, is normal. That is how most of us think and i wish that everyone would at least read this to realise that is what they are doing – accepting a lie.

We look at our environment and build a cage telling ourselves that those are our limitations, adding that anyone that ever makes it out of that cage is either lucky (which is only an idea) or doing something that’s not acceptable (illegal, corrupt or immoral).

Knowledge is the key, understanding the path to righteousness.

You are not your environment

In 1993 the Bank of England issued a £20 banknote depicting a man by the name of Michael Faraday. He was born in what is now the Borough of Southwark, London, England. His father was a blacksmith and Faraday had left school, never to return to formal education, at the age of 12.

During the day he worked as a bookbinder, but his love for science drove him to read scientific literature at night. He drive and passion for this was the want in understanding why things are the way they are.

On the 29th of February 1812, he went to a lecture at the Royal Institute, London, after he was given a ticket to the lecture, conducted by Humphrey Davy, the most prominent chemist at the time.

This event changed Faraday’s life. He decided to dedicate himself to furthering science and, within a year of attending that lecture, Davy took him on as an apprentice.

Faraday went on to become not only an established chemist, but, also the father of electromagnetism.

From a “normal” background, basic schooling, to being a member of the Royal Institute and an established scientist, his environment had no hold on him.

This is just one of many examples throughout history, of people who have not allowed their environment to shape their future. Look at Sir Alan Sugar, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jack Ma Yun.

If you believe your environment makes you, whether it be where you grew up, your family, your current circumstances or a physical disability, you will find people, past and present, that have overcome those beliefs.


I am not my environment

Because they have not allowed the circumstances they have found themselves in to dictate their future. They made a decision and followed it through. They got an idea and followed it.

We all face our fears, but, it’s how we deal with them that makes the difference. Do we stop when they appear or do we continue knowing that regardless what comes up, we can deal with it.

A quote I like by Sir Ken Robinson is that, ”Life is not linear”. Things happen, serendipity plays a part and it’s full of twists and turns. What you think you see is not always what it actually is.

If you allow yourself to be caged into the belief that all that you are and all that you can be is your environment, you will achieve no more than you have given yourself the belief that you can achieve. It’s like a bird in a cage – it believes that the cage is its world until it’s let loose. It suddenly finds it’s wings. For a bird it’s instinct. We believe that we cannot do that, leave our cage, that it’s beyond us.

Our beliefs and fears, are stigmas that we impose on ourselves. We build our self image within those boundaries, never daring to go beyond them in fear of failure, in fear of disappointment.

But what if…. What if you don’t fail but succeed. And if failure does strike, you don’t quit, but keep going with the knowledge that what you have placed in your mind, that idea, is an inevitable outcome.

Our environment, like our bodies, change over time. As Wayne Dyer would say, we are born into a baby body, which continuously changes to the body you have now. That body, the baby body, no longer exists.

Stop and think about that a minute and what it means, what it implies.

Every type of environment will undergo change, whether political, economical, financial or your direct environment. Some external factors, that are out of your control, may affect your life. But that effect is only as effective as you allowed to be. You could loose everything, but with the knowledge that it is only a phase, you can return to where you were before, within reason.

To finish

The house you grew up in, your family and their social status, the school you went to, your formal education, your current situation, none of these factors matter. You can change your life to the way you want it – but you must really want to.

We’ve been putting ourselves in prisons of our own making, because we have accepted other peoples opinions and ideas, about who we are and who we should be. But the truth is so much different.

As with everything else, we cant get anywhere if we don’t know where we want to get to. And most of us never spend 1 minute thinking, really thinking about what we really want for ourselves. We never consider it’s possible and so we forget about it or tell ourselves to stop dreaming, never realising that the dream is the seed of an idea that simply needs nurturing.

Who you are, what you are and where you are has nothing to do with where you want to go. It is your starting point. You know where you are, because its what you have, what you do and where you are now. Where you want to be, to do and to have is that idea in your mind, that needs clarification and specification.

Realise that the only person holding you where you are now is you and only you, including accepting opinions and ideas from others over your own.

You see, to think that your environment is to blame for where you are now, is no better and different to blaming your environment for your future. It makes no sense. It’s as if you are prophesying your own future. You are deciding your future, 5, 10, 20 years from now, based on where you are today.

We can all be so much more. Our only limitation is the limits we put on ourselves.

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

Jessie Belle Rittenhouse Scollard

Photograph by: Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

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