Design Your Environment
Hey, how's your new year going?! It's Ixi here with a few ideas that you can put into action RIGHT NOW to help you make the big strides that you want in music, work, school, wellness, and really any area you're focused on. But before we get into the nuts and bolts, let me take you back a few years…
When I was in grad school in Los Angeles, I rented a house in Venice Beach with two medical students. Despite my roommates being at UCLA, and my being a USC Trojan, the big rivalry between the two schools didn't seep into our daily lives. On the contrary, when I look back on those days what I remember most is the energy in the house, and how positively it affected my mindset and outlook on my life and career.
With two roommates hitting the books hard, being home meant being surrounded by big-time motivation and discipline. Not that we didn't have fun, we sure did: there were parties, brunches, and trips on rollerblades to the beach. The combination of intense focus and a fun, positive balance of work and life absolutely accelerated my growth as a musician, especially as I started taking auditions in earnest.
We underestimate the degree that our environment shapes us.
To whatever extent you can, create an environment where you can be your best self. As James Clear says, your environment is "the greatest success *hack* there is".
So, if the world around us shapes your behavior and attitudes, how do you purposefully create an environment that supports the results you want to achieve?
1. First, take a look at the space around you. What cues are sitting in plain sight (probably dozens) that are shaping your behavior in small ways?
- Is your metronome out? You're more likely to use it.
- Is your recording device and mic set up? You'll record yourself more often!
- Do you lay your workout clothes out the night before? It'll be easier to get to the gym or run in the morning.
On the other hand:
- Is your practice chair a rolling office chair that faces your computer? You'll more likely to get distracted by email or start scrolling.
- Do you have a pantry full of sweets and snacks? You're more likely to reach for those instead of healthier options.
Just as a professional chef always has a "mise-en-place" (meaning "everything in its place") where tools and ingredients are neatly organized and prepared, your practice, work or living space can be prepared in a way that works for and not against you!
2. Next, who are the 3 or 4 people closest to you? They could be your spouse, roommates, parents, close friends. Pay attention to these people, as well as anyone you encounter: do they complain a lot? do they tend to see the world around them negatively? or are they solution-oriented, resourceful and positive people? Know that the impact of these people are on your behavior, attitude and choices are bigger than you think!
3. Finally, what mass media are you consuming every day? How often are you reaching for that phone, and which apps are you subconsciously opening? Who are you following? What are you doing when waiting in line at the bank, the drive-thru, or um… when you're on the toilet? You don't need this swirl of information flooding your brain!
Remember!! The things and people that surround you can help you rise or make you fight your surroundings.
As much as you can, create an environment that supports the results you want to achieve.
What of the above will you implement right away?
Which one will take some thoughtful planning?