Often, we see success as being dictated by how good our business plan is, or how determined we are to reach our goals.
Those elements are of course extremely important (if not required). Invariably, without a good idea and the required work ethic to leverage it to its maximum potential, very little will be achieved.
However, I have learned that there a number of other factors that contribute to our success.
Such factors may seem inconsequential at first glance, but they really can make all the difference – I say this from personal experience.
Today, I want to explore two changes I have consciously made to my environment that have increased both my desire to succeed, and drive to do whatever is necessary.
Create a Bespoke Working Environment
When I committed myself full time to my writing business in January 2012, I set up a home office in my spare bedroom. I created what I thought would be a highly productive atmosphere, and set myself certain rules to ensure that I wouldn’t be distracted.
I worked in silence (because I have the tendency to sing along to music, which can be most distracting). I bought a huge 27″ monitor so that I could have multiple programs open at once. I got a keyboard and mouse for my laptop. I was very strict with myself.
It took me a good four months to realize that it wasn’t really working for me. I was spending all day cooped up inside my house, sometimes not even leaving the house for a day or two. Not only that, I had fooled myself into thinking that I was distraction-free – in reality, I was surrounded by distractions.
So I decided to make a change – a change that may seem highly counter-intuitive to you. I set up shop in my (surprisingly loud) local library. It’s a ten minute walk from my house, which gives me time to clear my head. And once I’m there and settled in, there is nothing for me to do but work.
To me, the library is a clearly delineated environment without any of what I would consider real distractions. Sure – there are people coming and going, students chatting between themselves, and so on – but that’s normal. What isn’t normal in a working environment is having the easy opportunity to turn on the television, or pick up a guitar (in my case).
I even listen to music whilst I work in the library – because I can’t sing along to the music, it has an opposite effect to when I listen to it on my own – it allows me to shut out the rest of the world and focus on what I am doing.
The moral of my story is two-fold:
When choosing your working environment, consider if you are really preventing yourself from distraction. The thought of simply being able to do something can be nearly as distracting as the act itself.
Don’t let anyone else dictate to you what is or isn’t productive. I’m sure there are plenty of you who couldn’t imagine how working out of a library whilst listening to music could possibly be productive, but it works for me.
Brainwash the Impossible
As humans, we are ultimately shaped by those who influence us. As we grow up, our parents, teachers and peers mould us into the adult we become. This personal growth may slow down when we reach adulthood, but it certainly doesn’t stop.
Some of my friends do not share my entrepreneurial spirit. They are happy in their jobs, and have no real ambition to further themselves. I have no problem with that and wouldn’t dream of judging them – if it works for them and makes them happy, more power to them. However, their approach to life does not complement or boost my own drive.
But when I spend time with the kind of people who are driven to push themselves as far as possible, it can serve as enormous inspiration. Consider an extreme – say you spent lunch with Richard Branson. How could you not come out of that experience without feeling hugely inspired to push your business forwards?
My father was a born entrepreneur, and has spent his whole adult life building businesses. That no doubt had a huge influence on me as I was growing up, and in part explains my own endless desire to create and grow wealth.
I recently interviewed 22 people for a post on my blog, and one of the most compelling answers I got was the following from Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend:
Everything changed the moment I started hanging around people who were doing the things I thought were impossible. They created a new “normal” and got me operating on a totally different level.
The fastest way to do the things that you don’t think can be done is to spend time around the people already doing them. Simple as that. Brainwash the impossible. Nothing is more powerful than environment.
I love that phrase – “brainwash the impossible”. The chances are that someone has already achieved something that you may feel you are simply not capable of. If you are able to surround yourself with the kind of people who can convince you of your ability to turn impossibles into possibles, you will be able to achieve so much more.
Do Not Neglect Your Environment
It doesn’t matter how great your business ideas are – if you don’t believe in them, or do not place yourself in the kind of productive surroundings that drive you to put the necessary work in, your goals will never achieve fruition.
So make sure that you put yourself in the kind of working environment that suits you. Furthermore, take every opportunity to surround yourself with the type of people that will inspire you to outstrip any of your previous achievements. If you do these two things, I believe that your chances of succeeding in your goals will be far higher.
This article was written by Tom Ewer, a regular contributor for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com
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