In the first post of this two-part series, I shared neuroscience research that lays the foundation for shaping our environments.
Now, I will present six actions that you can start taking right now to intentionally create an environment of success that supports you in all your endeavours.
1) Be like the stem cell; differentiate yourself from others
How are you going to up the stakes of your environment to create an external situation to force you into the behaviour that you want to create? What comes to mind?
In one of my workshops, I was sharing with the class that I love books. I have hundreds of them.
One participant responded, ‘Jeez, you must read a lot!’
My response to her was, ‘No, actually I don’t, but I want to.’
You see, I collect books in the hope that I read them one day. They certainly have a purpose. Books inspire me to write.
However, I have found a way to deliberately set up my environment to change my behaviour so to achieve what I want.
2) Move objects closer to or further away from you
The first thing I did was to create the space for my specific need. I picked three books that really resonated with me and made some space beside my bed for them to sit there in the hope that it will inspire me to read.
As you can see, by creating the space and bringing what you want closer, you have a greater chance of succeeding.
The same goes for what you don’t want.
For example, I have asked my husband to hide the nuts and chocolate in our home from me. He has hidden them so far away from sight and so high that I can’t see them, nor reach them.
So, if there is something that you want to move away from your environment to succeed in achieving your goal, then this is sure to work.
When I want to concentrate and pour all my energy in a task, I may put my mobile phone in my bedroom cupboard or in my car. Depending on the task, I keep it completely away from my office and out of sight so I can focus on achieving my outcome.
3) Make new habits part of a pre-existing routine you have
Build habits around specific times or actions that are already part of your existence. We are all time-poor as it is, and the last thing you want to do is overwhelm the brain with more things to do.
A great example is if you want to add a little bit more exercise in your day. If you are too busy and your calendar is filled up with meetings, why not walk as part of your meetings? After all, sitting down too long is the new cancer.
Neuroscience shows us that movement changes our point of focus. Walking while talking will change the way you think, and it will shed light on your problems or opportunities.
It will stimulate energy and keep it flowing.
4) Set high standards that have consequences for poor performance
We all have different drivers.
Some of us are driven by consequences. If I don’t achieve this, that will happen, so I’d better get it done.
Alternatively, let’s say you invest in a very expensive course when you can’t afford it. For some, that is a big motivator to succeed, otherwise they will be in a financial ruin. Some of the most powerful entrepreneurs I’ve met in my life have put everything on the line — house and all —to create that motivation to succeed. It’s a massive risk, but that works for them.
Social pressure is another driver that has proven to be effective for many. When you make a commitment publicly, that creates accountability.
You see, there are many forms that you can experiment with when creating your external environment for success.
5) Label your surroundings to shape your environment
If you were to label your environment as Career, Life, Love, Finance, etc., what would the headline be?
When you realise you can create your environment, you also believe in the possibility of change. The way to do so is by disconnecting and becoming an active observer.
With no judgement, write down what is going on in your environment.
Now flip it. Internalise it. What is that telling your inner self?
Mindfulness is awareness of your surroundings and how they influence you. The more mindful you become, the more you realise you can create the environments you are in.
When you realise that who you are is totally influenced by your situation, you take a lot more ownership of that situation and how it determines your thoughts and behaviours.
6) Don’t surround yourself with people with low expectations
Surround yourself with a difficult crowd where the expectations for demands are high.
That’s how you’ll grow.
Our personalities are definitely not some intrinsic traits. They’re more an adaptation to situations or a mechanism for dealing with unresolved traumas from our imprinting phase.
Kids at high school do that all the time. In order to fit in with the crowd, they shape their behaviour, language, how they act and think to fit a situation so that they can belong.
The time has come to take back control of your environment.
Observe your surroundings and mould them to support your highest aspirations.
And start now.