Today is October 26 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you take measure of your environment.?” In a 2019 motivational speech to his audience prior to taping of his show entrepreneur, comedian, and author Steve Harvey said "if you take an oak tree seed and you put it in a two-foot pot that tree will never become the oak tree that is has the ability to become because it is going to get stifled from the two-foot pot. There ain’t nothing wrong with that seed. The seed just fell prey to the environment. Don’t you allow your environment to dictate the oak tree that you become because there ain’t nothing wrong with your seed. Take your seed, and take your God given gift and move away from those people in your life that ain’t never done anything. Get away from people in your life that are hating, get away from people in your family that never opened a business, and get away from those family members who never followed their dream.”
Harvey would go on to tell the audience that’s exactly what he had to do. When he told his friends and family members he wanted to get into comedy no one believed him. They told Harvey he wasn’t funny and that he would fail and asked him “how you going to make money telling jokes?” Harvey continued and told the audience “In the beginning it looked like they were right. But I never gave up. I identified my gift, wrote all of my visions down, read them every morning and every night, and started telling people what I wanted to do. Over time, people started helping me, connecting me, and pointing me in the right direction. I started scratching items off my vision board as I achieved them.” Harvey then concluded his talk to the audience with the adage “if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.”
Today’s reflection considers the dynamics between the micro and macro perspectives involved with your environment. Differentiating between the two perspectives allows you to take responsibility for your actions while identifying specific areas that perhaps require more diligence than others. For the micro perspective of your environment, you have the capacity to create the change you need in order to grow to your potential. For example, if you know you watch too much television, you can reduce the number of units in your house or unsubscribe to those channels you watch far too often. If you want to run first thing when you wake up, you can place your running shoes next to your bed where you easily step into them. If you want to eat less you can change your environment by using smaller utensils and dishware.
To this point, Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think noted “If you use a big spoon, you’ll eat more. If you serve yourself on a big plate, you’ll eat more. If you move the small bowl of chocolates on your desk six feet away from you, you’ll eat half as much.” These and other available micro changes to your environment are completely in your control. Therefore, it is entirely up to you if you want to change your environment to help yourself grow to your potential.
Changes to your macro environment, however, are often much harder and involve some though decisions. These are the decisions Harvey talked to his audience about when the told them to ‘get away from those people who stunt your growth and don’t allow you to develop into the full oak tree you are capable of becoming.’ An oft quoted phrase, sometimes attributed to author Jim Rohn “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” While there is some debate as to the validity of this observation, it does serve as a useful reminder to only surround yourself with those who can help you become the oak tree you envision. For example, if you want to drink less, you will need to stop hanging out with people who go to the bar several nights a week. If your roommates refuse to stay quiet at night when you go to bed you may have to consider finding another place to life. If your workplace continues to treat you less than you might want to consider getting a new job where you are respected and supported to grow into the oak tree you envision.
At either the micro or macro levels, changing your environment is hard work. Since ‘the first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one’ it is important to take measure of your environment from time to time to make sure it is helping you grow into the largest oak tree to which you are capable. If it is not, you can start to make some changes to your micro environment and see if those help. Remember, you also have the hard choices involved with the macro changes to your environment. This entire navigate the chaos series promotes self-awareness in order to encourage self-care and nurture self-love. In so doing, it my hope that you maintain the self-awareness, self-love, and self-care required to place yourself in the best environment possible so you can grow your oak tree to its fullest potential.
How often do you take measure of your environment?
Have you made any micro changes to your environment?
Have you ever made any macro changes to your environment?
Is your current environment allowing you to grow your oak tree to its fullest potential?
What can you do today to change your environment at the micro level?
Do you have anyone in your life who can help you through the macro changes you need to make as you put yourself in a better environment?