The power lies within us
Although we are largely influenced by our environment, which shapes our beliefs, thoughts and actions, we are not bound to it forever. It should not limit us in the way that we cannot live up to our full potential.
We can become independent form our current environment if we want to by choosing to take ownership of our reactions. This realization need to come, however, from within ourselves. Victor Frankl shows in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ that we always have a choice of how we respond to our environment. A discovery he made while captured in a concentration camp during World War II. This was certainly not the environment where we would expect a person to not adapt the prevailing behavior of terrorizing and torturing from the people in power.
“I am NOT a product of my circumstances. I AM a product of my decisions.” – Stephen R. Covey
We can make the first step
“You are the average of the five people you spent the most time with.“ – Jim Rohn
Even if Jim Rohn makes a good point about how much influence our environment has on ourselves, it should not be forgotten that we can also change the persons we spent time with. When we realize that we ourselves have the power to change, we can alternate our environment. So that eventually we can also change our beliefs, thoughts and actions.
We are responsibly for our own happiness!
Path to inner happiness
The key and probably most difficult part is to understand what we really want from life. The answer to that question cannot be found in our environment. It is found within ourselves and often comes to light in our darkest hours. Therefore, we should embrace all the bad experiences and reflect on what they have told us about ourselves. Only then we can turn our view outwards again to our environment with its present opportunities in it. By becoming aware of other opportunities, through for example learning, we can expand our perception and shift our perspectives. We then need to evaluate if other options are a better fit for our long-term vision of life. In the last step we act on applying and implementing the new options in our daily routines. Setbacks and doubts are possible, but totally natural, since our plans to reach a goal will contain obstacles.
Breaking free from my environment
My parents have always imagined an apprenticeship in the local bank for me. Form their perspective (both have done apprenticeships themselves) it was an obvious and solid choice. Even though I looked into that possibility, I have chosen to do something different. I have become something else than my parents would have expected. Being the first in our family who got an academic education an apprenticeship was from my new perspective not the right choice anymore. Instead I recently moved to Sweden and started my own business. Who would have expected that?
Is sky the limit?
But my parents also raised me in the belief that I could become anything I want and do whatever I could imagine. So do I not have an obligation to live up to that belief?
Should we not all take responsibility for our own responses and ultimately our own happiness?
My personal example shows that we are not bound to our environment and we have the power to change it if we want to. You can change your current environment and make a change as well. We have the power to break free from old perceptions, thoughts and actions.
There are no limits!
I would like to hear about your story and your breaking free of an environment that did not suit you anymore. Share your story in the comments below or email me in private.