“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment (and the people in it*) that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things (and people*) helping you toward success, or are they holding you back?”
-W. Clement Stone (* – my additions)
When I was in my early teens, I started lifting weights. It was one of the few exercises I could do that wouldn’t trigger an asthma attack (I had exercise-induced asthma when I was younger). The DP weight set and bench came with manuals that included exercise guides that I used to teach myself the proper ways to lift weights. Over the years, I made marginal gains…nothing overly impressive.
Things changed several years ago when I befriended a guy named Jeff. Jeff was a big guy, built like a brick wall, because he was a serious and powerful weightlifter. Jeff was already at the level that I wanted to achieve. When the YMCA opened up in our county, we became members and started working out together.
Things changed when the environment, and the people in it, got bigger.
My workouts became more challenging because “bigger” people were now in my environment. Jeff and his friends were stronger, and had the capacity to move more weight. Because of that, I worked harder to keep up with them. I started making impressive gains as a result. In less than a year, my bench press went from 225 pounds to 300!
Having BIG people in my environment helped make me a bigger person!
As the quote above says, we are all products of our environment…and the people that are in it. If you are not satisfied with some aspect of your life, look around you:
Who are the people you choose to surround yourself with?
Are they BIG people who challenge you and help you improve? Or do they hold you back?
- If you hang around leaders, you will become a leader.
- If you hang around great communicators, you will become a great communicator.
- If you hang around successful businesspeople, you will become successful in business.
- If you hang around turkeys, well…gobble, gobble!
What can you do to make changes for the better?
Shortly after making that 300 pound bench press, I moved from North Carolina to Phoenix, Arizona. Because of the change in my environment and the people in it (or lack of people, in this case), my performance dropped. I eventually lost the ability to move the weight that I had before, because I no longer had that challenge and support. I knew that I had to make some changes. I had to add BIG people to my environment.
How to find BIG people to add to your environment
- Join a supportive group or organization – You can go online and find a group such as Toastmasters or a Rotary club that is located near you. Meetup.com is also a great resource to find groups that can help you achieve success.
- Find a mentor – Find someone who has already been where you are going and see if they are willing to mentor you along your journey to success. This can be someone from your work, school, church, a family friend, or someone from one of the organizations mentioned above. A mentor can provide that challenge and motivation because they are already operating on a higher level.
Remember that this is a two-way street. Figure out what you can offer them in return for their mentorship.
- Use information (books and technology) to help guide you – In addition to the above resources, or in case you live in a secluded area with little access to groups, you can find a lot of support in books and on the internet. You can be mentored by former world leaders, history makers, and thought leaders through their writings, articles, and videos.
(In my opinion, for best results, I suggest a combination of all 3 avenues)
Through the use of technology, I was able to access a few mentors to help me improve my strength building and fitness skills (ironically, one of them is named Jeff). Thanks to the information and motivation they have provided, I have been able to work my way toward the level of strength that I achieved a few years ago!