Hi and welcome to the AgileLeanLife Your Environment Matters Track. If you don’t know what tracks are, please read more about them here. In short, tracks are the recommended order of blog posts that you should read to really master the topic you have selected. Following a track will help you acquire knowledge step by step in the fastest possible way. Now let’s get started.

Almost a decade ago, I read the book Outliers written by Malcom Gladwell. The best-selling book popularized the concept that you need to practice 10,000 hours to get really great at something.

After the book was published a big debate started weather only enough practice can really make you great at anything. And it can't, practice accounts only for around 12% – 20% difference in performance.

Talent, quality of practice, how stable structures the field you study has, possible shortcuts (reality shows), leverages and so on are all the big influences how quickly you can become a master at something.

But what I remember most from the book is that you need an environment that supports and encourages your 10,000 hours of practice. You need an environment that recognizes your talents and supports your practice in the right kind of way (mentors). And you need to find yourself in fresh growing industries that can skyrocket your success.

It’s impossible to become an outlier just by yourself. Going from rags to riches only by working hard is a myth.

Hard work is important, but you also need strong support from the market paradigms, demographic trends, your family members, mentors and other people in your life. You need the right environment that enables you to flourish and accelerates the development of your talents.

Your environment matters

Your environment matters so much. Unfortunately, analyzing an environment is an extremely boring topic (interestingly, performing boring stuff often leads to victories). But if you learn to analyze and then proactively put yourself in the right kind of an environment, it becomes the greatest leverage you can ever have.

The right kind of an environment brings the best out of you and accelerates your way to success. And that’s exactly what you want.

It’s scientifically proven that the environment you operate in matters a lot. But you won’t find any good resources on what you can do to find or build yourself a better environment. That’s why I decided to put together a series of articles teaching you precisely how to achieve that.

Everything you need to know in order to properly understand, analyze and build the perfect environment for yourself

The global paradigms you must know and be prepared for – It’s not news that the world has been turned upside down in the past few decades, but we are often not even aware of all the big changes that happened in our lives. Therefore, it is extremely important that we stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and try to figure out the global currents and where they are headed. Because these big paradigms of the new technology age already transformed our lives and will do so even more in the future.

Advantages Disadvantages
Access to information Tyranny of choice
Ease of communication Unrealistic expectations
Material abundance Information overload
Mobility Hypercompetition
Safety and longevity Markets complexity
Personal power and freedom High uncertainty

Environment you operate in and ideal conditions for you – To better understand what supportive external conditions really mean for your goals and general happiness, let’s first look at all environmental variables that have an influence on your life. As you will see, you can change or adjust many of them. Understanding external factors will help you clarify what would even be an ideal environment for you.

How to analyze the environment to make sure trends and people are working in your favor – In this article, you will learn how to fully and extensively analyze the environment to make sure people and trends are working in your favor and that they aren’t hindering your potential. You will learn how to analyze the environment you operate in, so you can consciously choose the right environment for yourself, not just accidentally find yourself in the wrong one.

5Ts – Elements you should look for in your environment – There are five elements (5Ts) that you should look for in every environment and that will contribute to your long-term success. These are the elements that encourage creating, delivering and capturing real value by being human and keeping personal integrity. They encourage achieving goals with prestige and innovation, not dominance. The 5Ts are: talent, technology, tolerance, transparency and transcendence.

To thrive, build yourself a motivational environment. Here is how. – As mentioned above, you do have an influence on many of the environmental factors. The more you understand yourself and your talents, the more aware you are of your personal power and the more you know what kind of an environment is the best fit for you, the more you can shape your own destiny. This article is a manual on how to build yourself a motivational environment.

Personal Infostructure – Infostructure is a system and process of how you consume, manage and share information. In the creative society, a quality infostructure has become as important as a quality infrastructure. What you feed your mind with matters a lot. A quality (good) infostructure will help you become more creative, competent and resourceful. Your personal infostructure is a very important part of your environment.

5S – the best way to organize your environment – The 5S methodology is an important part of the Toyota Production System, recommending how to organize and maintain a workplace to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness. 5S stands for five Japanese words starting with the letter s – seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. If we translate them into English, we also get five words starting with the same letter: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain.
Your environment

Markets, timing and people in your environment

Markets always win – In capitalism, there’s only one really important rule. Markets always win. You stand zero chances if you go against the market. Markets determine a big part of your life. If you choose the right markets, things will go well for you; if not, you’ll experience only struggle, pain and failure. Thus choose markets you operate in very wisely.

Timing is everything – Here is how to hit the perfect timing: for every one of your actions, there is a reaction in your environment. By making a move, you create a change in the environment. You shake the environment at least a little bit and that causes stress. The key idea of “hitting the right timing” is that you align your own goals (or, to be more exact, the path of how you will get there) with environmental forces as much as possible to cause the least amount of stress and friction.

Healthy relationships are what matters most in life – Relationships are one of the most important parts of your environment. Relationships make your life on Earth heaven or hell. Good relationships can make your life really worth living, but crappy people in your life can make you suffer, really suffer and drown in misery. So you must forge your relationships very carefully; and make sure you only have healthy relationships in your life.

How social pressure really looks like – Every time you make any unconventional moves in your environment, you have to persist through C.R.A.P.: Criticism, Rejections, Assholes, Pressure. Even from the people you don’t expect it from. It often happens that the people you think will support you the most show the biggest doubts about your plans. Social pressure is often hidden between the lines. Thus you must learn to identify and protect yourself from it.

The next steps

This is the end of the “your environment” track. I’m sure you’ve acquired many ideas and insights into how to analyze and build yourself a better environment you operate in. But learning is never enough, you also have to apply the knowledge. Really apply it. It’s better to know one single concept and apply it than to know ten of them and apply none.

So I encourage you, take action. And don't forget to check out the other tracks on this site and to subscribe to the newsletter, so you’ll be the first to receive new quality blog posts; including new epiphanies and eye‑opening content on how to build yourself motivational environment.