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Motivation is Overrated – Change your Environment!


It is easy to assume that lack of self-discipline or skill makes us fail, and that motivation and determination are what leads us to be successful.

Of course, these things are important, but they are not the only things that matter. If you observe your surroundings and how people behave, you will see that environment has a huge impact on the way that we act.

Interestingly, proof of this comes from the historical agricultural industry.



Human Behaviour and Growing Crops

I know what you’re thinking – what has motivation got to do with agriculture? But bear with me! Studies have shown that the shape of a continent has had a massive effect on its agricultural success, and this in turn has had a massive effect on human behaviour over the years. For example, continents that run on a north-south axis are very different to those that run on an east-west axis.

The Power of Environment

At the point when farming began to be a necessary part of life and business, many crop growers noticed that they had more success cultivating their crops along east-west routes. This is due to these routes experiencing similar temperatures, hours of sunlight and similar rainfall.

This allowed farmers to cultivate particular crops across a VERY wide stretch of land (from Europe to Asia) because of predictable weather conditions and season changes along the latitude of the globe.

On the other hand, if you look at the changes in temperature and weather conditions on the longitude, you will see just how dramatic the differences are. One type of crop that grows well in colder weather (in Canada for example) would struggle to survive in warmer climates (like in Florida) and vice versa.

Due to differences in environment, crop growth was a lot more successful across Europe and Asia than it was in other countries that run on a north-south axis. In fact, it was 2 to 3 times more successful. Ultimately, the success of agriculture lead to a growth in population, cultural expansion and further innovation.

Environment -It’s Always There, But we Don’t See It

Although our surroundings are always there, we rarely see them. As a result, we don’t realize how much our environment influences our everyday lives.

Motivation and skill are, of course, very important factors in achieving anything, but they are not the only thing to consider. If we look for example at a farmer that tried to grow fruit in the Antarctic. The farmer might be the most skilled in the world, but even skill and motivation won’t change the fact that freezing temperatures are terrible for plant growth.

What we can learn from this is that if you want to increase your chances of being successful, you must first be in a place that helps you and doesn’t hold you back.

Redesigning your Surroundings

There are many approaches that you can use to help yourself achieve your goals. Here are three examples:

  1. Make Good Decisions an Automatic Process You don’t need to completely overhaul your life to make changes, but small alterations can help you automatically do things. For example, turning off the TV and looking at what you are eating helps your brain process the fact that you are refueling. Using smaller dishes to eat dinner tells your brain that your plate is full and that you are eating more – even if you’re not!

  2. Create Awareness Using Space We don’t want an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario. Make things easy for yourself. Set up your running clothes on the chair by your bed so that you can easily reach them in the morning. Sign up for a gym that’s on your way home from work. You can create routines that fit around your current schedule so that it feels easy and natural.

  3. Remove the Negativity Put your unhealthy snacks in hidden away spots so that you’re not tempted to reach for them. When eating snacks, pour them into a bowl rather than eating from the bag. Remove anything in your environment that makes life difficult.

The Influence of Our Surroundings

When we’re having a lot of success, it is easy to completely ignore our surroundings and how much they have positively influenced us. On the other hand, it is very easy to blame the environment when things aren’t going our way.

Remember that our surroundings can influence both our good and bad habits. Often, people who are successful will have come from an environment that has allowed them to reach their goals, whereas those that have struggled to be successful are most likely struggling due to a lack of a good environment.

Redesign your surroundings if you can so that everyday life isn’t a battle, and all other things including your habits, motivations and talents will benefit.

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