‘Your external environment determines your internal environment.’ True? I am quite sure that philosophers will disagree with that statement. So let me explain…
People: These are perhaps the most important component of the external environment. We call them various names: peers, friends, buddies, classmates, co-workers etc. The saying ‘show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are’ perfectly illustrates the importance of this component of our external environment. In simple terms, we are a reflection of the people we constantly interact with whether they are our friends or not. This is because they influence us directly or indirectly by their speech, actions and habits, as we shall see in the next point.
Multimedia: In this internet/information age, the multimedia has become closer to us than ever. The multimedia comprising of sight and sound has a powerful influence on our internal environment because the organs they make use of (Eyes and Ears) are probably the most important means by which we acquire information. Therefore, what we see (or watch) and we what we hear (or listen to) largely determines the state of our mind. Of course, the examples in this category include Music, Television and Movies.
Places: Perhaps the reason we have so many small-minded people as well as people with myopic dreams in this world is that many people have not traveled beyond their places of birth. Travelling does not necessarily mean a long-distance travel or a journey into foreign lands. It simply means going to some place new, somewhere that captures your dreams of a near future. There are always places (and there are a lot of them!) better than where you are or have been that will show you that many things are actually possible.
Books: Small yet powerful, books have been around longer than many of our ancestors. By reading books, you can travel to places you have never been and probably will never be; you can rub ideas with great minds you have never met; you can learn about cultures of people that you never knew existed and more importantly, they could be sources of inspiration and novel ideas. The beauty of books is that they are all around us (in the ‘environment’). The sad thing is that only few people read them. Even sadder is that people read inappropriate books so create a bad environment.
- Your eyes and ears are the main gateway to your internal environment (mind/soul). The external environment influences your internal environment through any or both of these channels.
- Your external environment is not out of your control. To a large extent, you determine your environment and your environment in turn determines whom you turn out to be.
- Make good or bad friends, view (or listen) to enhancing or destructive multimedia, go to wrong places or visit mind-stretching places, read good books or junk books. It’s all in your hands.
Originally published on Facebook as Milieu on February 25, 2011
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