Our Environments

Our Environments


Take a moment to look around you.

Where are you right now? What do you see? Who is there also? What do you smell, hear, or taste? What physical sensations do you get? Are you too warm or cool, or is it just right? And more than all of these things, how do you feel? The answers to all these questions are components which form our environment. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about each of our individual environments, not necessarily the ecosystem as a whole (although that’s certainly important!).

Our environments

Contribute to who we are and the behaviors we make in ways we might not expect or understand. Conversely, our external environment can be a reflection of what’s on the inside. When we choose which chair we’ll sit in, which sheets to sleep in, or what items to decorate our walls with, we’re choosing and modifying our environments. Environment includes all the physical objects around us. It also includes the colors and designs of those objects. It’s the ambient music or the television. It’s also the people or animals in our lives with whom we interact every day.

What we may think

We may think that we are the only contributing factor of our lives, but as poet John Donne reminded us, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” We all fit into a bigger scheme: our environment.
Designing our environments is something all of us do, but many of us take for granted. We choose what to put in our homes and who to work with or hang out with. When we choose to build an environment that is supportive and constructive, life gets easier (or harder if it allows us to take on even more than we already do). You can design an environment which supports you to take action, so doing things is less of a chore. You can design stimulating environments which contribute to your evolution in surprising ways. Preparing your environment before starting a project or life shift helps things run more smoothly.

Supporting Environments

Having environments which support our internal world and external efforts means we don’t have to trudge through life bending all our willpower just to get things done. Building an environment which helps us be successful takes off of us the burden to be successful.
Here’s an example. A few years ago I designed and implemented a strategy for using a piece of workout equipment I was given as a gift. It was a pull-up bar which utilizes an existing door frame and it’s as easy as putting it up and taking it down. No screws required. The problem is, if every time I want to do some pull ups, I’ve got to go and get the thing and put it on my door, then take it back down so I can close my door again, then I’m not likely to want to keep it up for very long. So here’s what I did: I put it and left it on the open doorway into the kitchen. Now, every time I want a snack, my pull-up bar is staring at me, beckoning me to get some exercise. In this way I designed an environment which made that particular exercise painless to do every day.

When we design an environment that helps us be creative

We can see how it pulls our best work out of us instead of us having to push it out of ourselves. When we set them up well, things almost seem to get done on their own. Our computers, our house, our friends, our art, our tools, communities, work teams, and everything else we relate to contributes to this environment, so the challenge is implementing environmental factors which help us, and minimizing the ones which hinder us.

To be our best

To express our truth, to use our gifts, and to do the work we were meant to do means giving ourselves room to create our lives. How have you contributed to your environment in a meaningful way? How has your environment contributed to your development? What parts of your environment do you need to let go? Leave a comment and let me know! Visit The Adjustatorium today.
Dr. Ryan K. Marchman