In this story, I’m going a little deeper on the same theme.
A lot of the inspiration comes from my own experience living in completely different areas of the world in the last few years.
In the past 7 months alone, I’ve changed more than I’ve ever changed in my entire life. I have many theories on how specifically it happened, but for the most part: it boils down to my changes of environment.
If you are not in the right environment, hopefully, my story will inspire you to change it and make it work for you.
To be honest, It’s not something I had given much thought until I read Benjamin P. Hardy’s book: Willpower Doesn’t Work. So thank you for the inspiration, Benjamin!
Toronto — Earlier than 7 Months Ago
Back then, I was living a more normal life. I had a nice 9–5 software engineering job in a rapidly growing tech startup in Toronto. I had worked there for at least one full year.
I was living in a modest apartment with my wife in the downtown area.
I was doing good, but I wasn’t standing out from the crowd. I felt I had stronger ambitions, but my environment was not prone to making me what I wanted to be.
Cambodia — 7 Months Ago
My wife and I went separate ways due to her job with Doctors Without Borders.
We would not see each other for 6 months, with the exception of a week-long break in between.
I had to choose where I’d go.
I ended up going to Siem Reap, in Cambodia, helping a friend who owns a co-living/co-working space.
That was quite the change of environment!
There, I finally started working full-time on my own startup, a video game studio called Power Level Studios.
The most important part of the environment there was the people. Everyone was working hard on their own projects, which they cared deeply about. 9–5 was not a concept anymore.
I was so motivated that I was working 15 hours per day, 6–7 days per week. And it wasn’t even that hard.
I become such a high achiever and came up with my 3 new skills a month framework.
But outside of work hours, I would go out for dinner with friends every night. There’s no way I would do that in Toronto, that would be way too expensive! In Cambodia, I could eat a meal for $3. That was with a beer.
That environment was perfect for working hard, but also playing hard.
In the two months I was there, I had finally started working on my own dreams. I also made many new friends and became way more sociable.
I also somehow started looking like Conor McGregor haha.
Thailand — 5 Months Ago
After Cambodia, I went to travel with a friend to Thailand for about 3 weeks.
We met new people almost every day and I did things way outside my comfort zone, like rock climbing outdoors and surfing. I’m afraid of heights and of drowning. We also crashed Turkish tour groups and went to ping pong shows with them.
I was a way more fun person than I was when I was in Toronto. I had ditched the excessive video game playing or toying around with my phone. In fact, my phone is pretty much a brick now. I use it for Google Maps while traveling and that’s about it. Oh wait, it’s also my alarm clock and music player.
Spain — 4 Months Ago
After my vacation in Thailand, I went to Málaga, Spain, for 3 months.
When I arrived, the co-working space I wanted to join didn’t have any desk left for me, so I was working from my Airbnb.
Honestly, I was pretty depressed. My productivity went down to about 10–20% of what it was back in Cambodia. The weather was nice. I had access to mountains and beaches. It was really hard to stay home. Plus the Spaniards live quite a relaxed way of life when you compare to North America. And I’m not saying it’s positive or negative, just different.
Anyway, the co-working space finally had a desk ready for me after 10 days. BOOM! Productivity went back up to what it was back in Cambodia.
There, I managed to continue with my 3 new skills per month. I gained 5kg of mass in one month (while losing 2% body fat), hiked almost once a week, gave public speeches, learned good conversational Spanish, started a fitness group, earned a grant for Power Level Studios, grew the company to 8 people, started writing and became top writer in less than one month, and made a business partner out of another co-worker there.
Gone was my introversion too. I would approach everyone and have wide-ranging conversions about everything.
I had become someone so entirely different from what I was only 6 months before. I had become much closer to what I’ve always wanted to be.
Toronto — 1 Month Ago
My wife and I were reunited on Valentine’s day.
She had a hard time adjusting to what I had become. I was so different mentality, but physically too. I had gained a lot of muscles and started looking like a Viking because I was about to launch a Viking store (it’s still coming soon).
But it’s been only one month, and somehow I’m starting to get back to my other habits from before.
I’m less motivated. I play more video games. I work less. The only thing I do without fail is working out. I started writing once every 2–3 days instead of every day. My environment inspires me less here for some reason.
India — The Next 3 Months
In four days, my wife and I are flying to India. We’re going to be spending about 3 months in Bangalore. We found our apartment and our co-working space.
I’m excited to be in a similar routine as in Spain, but in a completely different environment. I have much to learn from India. Apart from Canada, Spain and Cambodia, it’s the country I had spent the most time in before, and I absolutely loved it.
I’m excited to see how my environment there will shape me. I have a feeling India will have a very positive impact on my life.
What About You?
Take a moment to think about your current and past environments. Ask yourself the questions below:
- What environment are you in?
- Are you satisfied with it?
- Why is that?
- What could be improved?
- What could not be improved?
- What is positive about it?
- What is negative about it?
- What would be your ideal environment?
- How do you get there?
- What are the major roadblocks?
- How do you overcome them?
- How long will it take you?
I never asked myself these questions before. As a result, I “wasted” years of my life where I wasn’t where I really wanted to be.
I changed my environment many times now. I can only agree with Benjamin’s theory on how environments have the biggest impact on how you can change/grow.
I know it’s not always easy to change your environment, but you don’t have to go to extreme lengths like I did.
With each small change, you’ll be more motivated to change more things, until without even realizing it, you will be in the environment you always wished you were in.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/you-are-or-will-become-your-environment-95d28aa4c583