On Optimizing Your Environment: 1+1 = 3

On Optimizing Your Environment: 1+1 = 3




I was lifting back the other day and getting ready to move from the chin up bar to the lat machine. There was a guy already doing lat pull downs, so I asked him if I could join. I had noticed he was lifting around 80 lbs., set after set. For my first set, I put it on 120 lbs. Rather than putting it back down to 80 lbs., he kept it at 120. Had I not been there, he would have certainly done his next set at 80.


Environment matters.


Suicide rates go up materially in Northern countries during the winter when the sun sets earlier.


Environment matters.


You will see a group of guys lifting. Some cute girl starts working out next to them, and all of a sudden, they start lifting harder.


Environment matters.


A teenager gets kicked out of school and arrested for petty theft. Turns out his parents are addicted to opioids.


Environment matters.


My son and I did an uber-hard track interval workout the other evening. We both turned to each other afterwards and acknowledged we could never have gone that hard on our own, no matter how self-disciplined we were.


Environment mattes.


Whether we realize it or not, our environment matters. A lot. It can make a big difference on our mood, how much we get done in the near and long term, and affect many other aspects of our lives. Some components of our environment we don’t control, but we have more influence – if not control – than we realize. Is there a toxic person in your life? Be very disciplined about the interactions you have with him/her. Often no response is the best response – let the negativity die on its own weight. Have a bunch of wine and junk food in your house? Wonder what you are going to consume… Consider surrounding yourself with healthy foods. Tabloid magazines strewn about your bedroom? Toss them out and buy a book on spirituality (see previous blog: Nutrition for The Mind: Reading List for quality book ideas).


While our physical environment can have a big impact on our lives, ultimately it is the environment between our ears that matters most. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned – confined to small, inhospitable spaces – for 27 years. Yet the strength of his mind not only allowed him to persevere, but to emerge with wisdom, grace, and a nation of support. Be sure to dedicate time to nourishing your brain (and spirit). When fine-tuned, our brain and spirit serve as the control center to execute and interpret events in a manner that best optimizes your external environment.

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