Your Environment Matters
It’s been said that if you put a pumpkin in a jar when it’s the size of a walnut, it will grow to the size of the jar and never get bigger. It even takes on the shape of that jar. That can happen to a person’s thinking, too. Be careful to not let that happen to you!
The Law of Environment states that growth thrives in conducive surroundings. One way to judge whether you are growing and in an environment that promotes your growth is to ask yourself whether you are looking forward to what you are doing or looking back at what you have done. How you see your future can be an indication that you may start needing to make some changes.
We need to be aware and be intentional about who we surround ourselves with.
I remember when I was a young soccer player, I was fortunate to be blessed with talent that I worked hard to develop. As a result, I was often advanced and placed in age groups above me during camps. I was always grateful and excited for the opportunity to be around stronger players than me because I knew it would make me better. And it did!
And that’s the best place to learn – from others who are ahead of you.
If you’re always at the head of your class or group, then you need to get yourself in a new group! Otherwise, you put a lid on your own potential because there’s no one pushing you to improve, to challenge you to rise to the next level of competition.
If you want to play with the best, you have got to get around the best.
And that doesn’t just mean in your sport. Who you surround yourself with on a regular basis has a profound impact on your thinking, your attitude, your health and even your success in academics, athletics, relationships, and your professional life. Jim Rohn says that we become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most, so make sure those five people are helping you become better than you are now.
According to research done by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, it found the people with whom you habitually associate are called your “reference group,” and these people determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.
John Maxwell came up with a list called “My Growth Environment.” It has helped him make decisions about his personal growth for years. It says, in a growth environment
Others are Ahead of me.
I am continually Challenged.
My focus is Forward.
The atmosphere is Affirming.
I am often out of my Comfort Zone.
I wake up Excited.
Failure is not my Enemy.
Others are Growing.
People desire Change.
Growth is Modeled and Expected.
How is your current environment? Who do you spend the most time with? How are they impacting your life? It’s worth taking the time to assess your “people environment.”
And once you assess your environment, what changes need to be made? Who needs to be in your circle that isn’t at the moment? Who needs to be taken out of your inner circle and not get as much of your valuable time?
Even though it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to get around people “larger” than ourselves. People who have integrity; who are positive; who are ahead of you athletically, academically, professionally; people who lift you up and not knock you down; people who take the high road; and people who are growing.
In the book of Proverbs it says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
We become like those we hang around. We start thinking like they do, talking like they talk, reading what they read, watching what they watch, eating like they eat, acting like they act, dressing like they dress.
The people we associate with have a powerful influence over our lives!
We were not meant to walk our journey in life alone – not our growth journey and especially not our faith journey. What’s true for our personal growth is equally true in matters of the soul: We need to keep company with those who have walked longer and further in their faith. Life can be hard and we need people in our life that have great wisdom, who have integrity and show great care, who are available and who love to learn and grow along with us, who are teachable, and who will love and encourage us along the way to live the life God has called us to.
Being on the path of growth is a powerful journey, and it’s one that each of us has the power to make for our lives. Like an acorn that is planted in fertile soil will grow into a mighty oak, the soil you choose to plant yourself in can take you to heights you never imagined!
- Take some time to go through the list of “My Growth Environment” and assess your current environment. What changes do you need to start making so that you are in an environment that promotes your growth
- Take some time to assess your “people environment.” Who are the people you spend the most time with? What changes, if any, need to be made? Think through who you may need to spend less time with and/or more time with, who you may need to remove from your circle and who you would like to add to your circle.
- Who is building into you from a faith perspective? If you don’t have a faith mentor, who could you ask to be in that role in your life?