You Are Your Environment

Referring to environment in the sense of:

“the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates”

Not the environment we are destroying, at an alarming rate, with fossil fuels, pollution and cow farts. It’s real, check it out here.

The people you surround yourself with have a direct influence on the person you become. There have been countless studies on the topic, one of the scariest being The Stanford Prison Experiment, where some college students assumed the roles of prisoners, and others guards.

“Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.” Professor Philip G. Zimbardo, conductor of the experiment.

Fret not friends, our environment can be used for good, rather than evil.

So much so, Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, believes environment is so crucial it has the power to stop addiction.

In his TED talk, Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong, he proposes that:

“the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.”  

A powerful sentiment to the strength and value of meaningful and truthful connection.

If environment is enough to combat addiction, imagine what it can do for business.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, in this podcast interview with Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and now chairman of parent company Alphabet discusses:

“the controversial management techniques he created to cultivate an environment of free-flowing ideas”

Masters of Scale Episode 6: Innovation = Managed Chaos

Managed Chaos seems like such a strange statement but all becomes perfectly clear when you hear about Google’s 20 Percent Time. Essentially, allowing Google employees the freedom to work on any project they wish for 20 percent of their work week. This radical environment has spawned gems like Gmail, Google Maps and Adsense, to name but a few.

This is all fine and well. Environment can fight addiction and create game changing products, “but how does it help me” we hear you cry!

How Your Circle of Friends Influence Who You Become

“How smart you are. How talented you are. Where you were born. The family environment you grew up in. These may all play some role as to how successful you will be in life, but in comparison to the impact of surrounding yourself with people who can lift you higher, it doesn’t compare.” Simon Alexander

We are in the age of technology where anything and everything is at our finger tips. We can choose the inputs we accept into our brains. Why not choose wisely? Fill your mind with the good stuff and learn with relentless intention.

Acta non verba,
The BetterMan Team 

P.S. If you are looking to change your environment and surround yourself with the right people, check out Apex. This might be just what you are looking for.

About Author

Andrew Mack


  1. Tyler Palmer on

    GREAT WORK. I am so glad to read this this morning. Being in university surrounded by various types of cliques can pressure one into making the wrong decisions.

    Being a final year student, I am capable of making the wiser decision without much trouble – however I do see wrong decisions being made every day.

    This can apply to all Bettermen.

    Thank you Andrew Mack and BetterMan.

  2. So true, different environments\surroundings brings out different types of characteristics in your personality.

  3. Physical environment can be adapted to one’s requirements. Personally what works for me is being in the company of like minded individuals. Priceless.

  4. Jacques Kruger on

    Very inspiring, it is true that we get addicted and its because of the environment we create or find ourselves in. It not only robs you of your self worth but mostly steals your time. Time that is valuable not only for productivity but also self reflection and investment in yourself. Thanks guys love reading your articles and news letters. when can we start a monthly Apex meeting in Cape Town?

    • Marc Templeton on

      100%!! In the ever-demanding world we currently find ourselves in, time is one of our greatest commodities. Still learning everyday on how to use it more wisely and efficiently!

      As usual guys, another super post!!

  5. Zukiso Makalima on

    Inspired stuff and the subject is close to my heart. I may have grown up in a township, Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, my parents may have had to shelter us from Apartheid police during the numerous State of Emergencies instituted by the previous Government but I chose to always surround myself with people who thought differently, people who only thought about success and improvement. Needless to say I’m writing this post from my corner office.

  6. Sit in a room filled with people who are negative about their jobs, lives etc, see if you won’t start complaining like them.
    Environment plays a major role. But you need to learn to adapt.

  7. Nangamso Madolo on

    As inspiring and true the message is the fear of change and starting new conversations with different people than the ones you’re comfortable with (though taking you nowhere) is daunting. It has rejections as not all seemingly successful people that you would like to associate with taking the time to get to know a new person and some just downright don’t have the character of nurturing a new friendship, especially where there is no benefit to them.

    Maybe give me(us) some tips on the journey of breaking away from comfortable but going nowhere group and the steps of identifying, approaching and connecting with the new people (or person) that challenge you to be better. I (or we) need the challenges especially faced by someone trying to create the desired positive and challenging environment.

    My fear is changing who I am to try and fit into a particular ‘environment’ because I see it as the ‘ideal’ group who can push me into my desired future.

    Otherwise, thank you for the read. I read Betterman post everyday and am inspired to Live! (like for real living and not maintaining status quo)

    • Andrew Mack

      Stay true to yourself first and foremost. Take what you can from others and use it. “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” Bruce Lee

  8. Virtue, this is.

    Studies and news on media informs us of things that are/might be happening in and around our environments.
    Fortunately; we can chose what we take in. And that is an individual’s choice.

  9. Great stuff guy’s inspiring words i was moved by this post and the word that Andrew Mack is doing is great.I for one also have seen first hand what your environment can do to you and pressure form others and time is something i cant get back that’s why i live for the moment and sees the day with new hope faith and confidence that ill be better then what i was yesterday.Me to came from Port Elizabeth in eastern cape in the northern areas a place called gelvandale ,but i had drive and determination that things will work out for the best for me last year i started studying at NMMU today im writing this post from my office at work a;ll because of the company i keep people that inspire motivate i don’t even know any of you in the group but thanks for always being positive its like one of you said surround yourself with like minded people.Like a wise man ones told me”if you wane soar like an eagle don’t flock with pigeons”.

  10. gREAT read thanks again Andrew, we are our circle in short. To succeed and live a life we want we must learn from the best, connect with them and become greater yourself by being around positiveness. I love the emails Erik they make me focus everyday.

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