How to Change Your Life

There’s nothing harder in the entire world than changing your life. So few are successful at it that we sometimes wonder if it’s possible at all.

Why? Because we do not change our environment. Consequently, we are we are forced to rely entirely on willpower to get the job done. This approach is like fighting a land war in Russia: sure, you might be successful for a while, but winter is coming, and you are a long way from home.

So much for those New Year’s resolutions!

So much for those New Year’s resolutions!

Willpower has its place, to be sure, but it is a finite resource. It is not designed for prolonged campaigns.

The goods news: we are just as vulnerable to positive environments as the reverse. Just as standing in the sun will result in a tan whether you wanted one or not, just being in a positive environment has a beneficial effect whether that was your intention or not. 

Once you understand this secret, you are equipped to use it to your advantage, like a sailor uses the wind to his advantage. E.g., we might choose our friends with more care, knowing that we tend to imitate the behaviour of our friends. We might keep our office meticulously clean, knowing that it is very difficult to work in a disorderly room. We might decide to dress better, knowing that the clothes we wear have an effect on the way we behave. These are just some of the ways we can improve our lives simply by changing our environment. 

Intelligent manipulation of one’s environment is what separates sailboats and driftwood, and winners and losers. Winners manipulate their environments to make what they want to do easy and what they don’t want to do difficult, and in so doing find that achieving their goals is not only possible, but inevitable. Losers don’t—and fail.