A few nights ago I was trying to put our little baby boy back to sleep. I held him in my arms and rocked him back and forth. I did this for 45 minutes until he fell asleep again. This cute little monster weighs around 25 pounds and it was no surprise that I was worn out afterwards.

It got me thinking: If instead I decided to pick up a 25-lb plate and rock it for some dumb exercise, I would probably give up after 10 – 15 minutes. Yet I was able to do that with my baby. The reason why I could do it for so long was because I was motivated to put him to sleep and go back to my evening routine. Thankfully, he provided me with the motivation.

We can correlate this with our desire to enhance ourselves professionally and personally. They say we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We can expand this theory and claim that our environment, whether at work or home, has a tremendous impact on us: It shapes us, drives us and presents us with the majority of the much needed motivation to achieve our goals. Being around like minded people or people that are better than us in certain aspects presents an optimal environment for growth. For example, if we are surrounded by colleagues who aspire to thrive in their professional life, have the drive to advance themselves constantly, produce more, then we subconsciously become affected by that vibe. We get carried along that stream of energy and somehow converge to the same mindset. Similar examples can be found for home environment. If we have a loving and supportive family and friends, who want to do good in this world, who are nice, and behave kindly to people around themselves, we end up just like them.

However, it is not always possible to have the ideal work or family environment that is best suited for our specific goals in life.

Let’s think about this for a second. What if our environment doesn’t serve us with the motivation that we need. What if everything seems status quo, and people around you do not share the same personal or professional objectives?

First of all we must accept the fact that we cannot change certain things. Not everyone has to share the same beliefs as ours. Their goals and expectations from life might be totally different from ours, and that’s ok. For instance, our friends or colleagues might not have any other goals than just being happy and comfy. Who are you to say that they are wrong and you’re right? In the end none of this really matters (see my previous rant here: The Comparison Trap).

Well, the obvious solution is to change our environment. Nevertheless, more often than not that’s not even an option. For some, it might not be possible to change jobs. And it would be foolish to change our friends just because they share a different set of values.

The other option is  to do all the heavy lifting alone and try to keep our inner drive alive and fresh. In other words, we must motivate ourselves regularly and focus on our goals. We have to become the lone ranger. At times, it is very difficult to keep doing this since we don’t have the influx of motivation from our environment.

Therefore, we must regularly keep reminding ourselves what our goals are, and what exactly we aspire to become. We need to visualize daily our better selves and try to keep that inner drive going. In the end it is “us” whom we have to be accountable for (see To whom should we be accountable?). There is always someone who is incongruous,  the one who changes things around for the better and set the bar higher for others. Perhaps it is our turn now to be that person.

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