Taking Control of the Environments that Control You

The 9 Environments of You

"Environment is stronger than will-power"
- Paramahansa Yogananda

The environments that we live in—all nine of them—either inspire us or expire us. They facilitate our success or they detract from our success. They energize us or they drain us. They relax us or they stress us. The good news is that we have a lot of control of the environments that affect us. We can de-clutter our office, create better filing systems, paint a wall, redecorate a room, clean out the garage, join a health club, hire a personal trainer, buy a treadmill or some free weights, join a yoga class, join a mastermind group, move to a new area, take walks in the park, schedule more time with friends, stop hanging out with negative people, hire a coach, hire a financial planner, join an investment club, feng shui your home or apartment, or subscribe to a positive magazine. While it is true that our environments exert a lot of control over our feelings and behavior, we have the power to create environments that positively impact us.

The only thing you can do to transform an environment is to add something (a new person, a new piece of equipment, a new belief), delete something (a negative person, the TV from your bedroom, a self-limiting belief, clutter), or modify something (paint a room, set a boundary with a family member, change where you eat dinner).

As you review the nine environments (listed below) that constantly surround you in your life, ask yourself "what could I add, delete or modify in each of these environments that would contribute to my success or enhance the quality of my life?"  Usually we are unconscious about the effects that our environments are having on us. Now you can be aware of each of these environments and choose to consciously design them to support you in creating and maintaining the life you wish to experience.

So as not to overwhelm yourself, start by picking three of the nine environments to actively change or modify, and once you see some results, work out from there. You will eventually discover that changing any one environment will begin to affect all of the other environments.

Here are the Nine Environments:

Memetic

  • Ideas- Opinions, Concepts, Thoughts, Beliefs, Paradigm, Styles, Usages
  • Information / knowledge you receive = these coaching calls, books, tapes, seminars, media, magazines, articles, TV, Internet, Radio
  • Passed down from generation—language patterns

 Body

  • Your physical body (hair, skin, nails, posture)
  • Health
  • Your primary energy source (adrenaline vs. inspiration/choice)
  • Psymatic (Observer of our own body)

 Self / Intangibles

  • Feelings
  • Passions
  • Values
  • Skills and unique assets
  • Heart Gifts
  • Amount of space in your life

 Nature

  • Life
  • The outdoors-parks, outdoor sporting event, camping, animals, the zoo
  • Geography (Southern Ca vs. North East)
  • Seasons - each have a different energy and influence on

 Spiritual

  • Spirit / Connections to God / Divine / Higher Power
  • Spiritual Practices (Prayer, Meditation)

 Relationships

  • Family, Friends, Colleagues, Neighbors, People you connect with daily
  • Staff / Assistants
  • Mentors /Coaches
  • Pets

 Network

  • Customers / Vendors
  • The Internet / Web
  • 6 Degrees or Separation
  • Communities you belong to - Church, dojo, schools, Children’s sports teams, associations, charities, meetings, Mastermind groups

 Financial

  • Money, investments, stocks, bonds, insurance
  • People who support your financial well being (CPA, employer, lawyer, real estate attorney, financial advisor)
  • Tools that support you in wealth (budget, P&L, Quicken)

 Physical

  • Home, Office / Desk, Clutter
  • Tools (Phones, pagers, computers...)
  • Possessions (Car, Artwork, Toys, Boats, Accessories)
  • Gym & Equipment
  • Sounds

I wish to thank Jim Bunch at The Ultimate Game of Life, who first made me aware of the Nine Environments and the tremendous power they exert over our lives.


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  • Shani

    I agree fully with this concept but what if for some reason one of the main environments that need to be altered cannot easily be altered. Will focusing on another or changing your perspective help.

    • Jonathan Edwards

      Shani environment trumps willpower. Eventually the will power of dealing with the negative environment will drain you. While you can improve the other eight environment that one will nag at you and eventually need to be changed.

  • I've often wondered why some people choose to keep clutter. For me, old things continue to bear the energies of what was, effectively maintaining the status quo. Just by cleaning my physical environment I oftentimes sense new energy flowing all around me. It's the act of symbolically letting go of the old by de-cluttering that we are ready to embrace change and move on with our lives.