Spiritual Growth

Your environment shapes who you are

Written by Moritz Schröder

So I recently spent a day with my two younger cousins. The boy is 10 and his sister 7. I was amazed to see how naturally these two were using ipads, smartphones and references to things they saw on the internet. Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised by that: All kids nowadays know how to handle a smartphone. They probably would have much bigger problems handling the old phones from 10 years ago!

It is normal for us humans to be used to the technology that we grew up with. In general, it is normal for us to just adapt to the world we are born into. And that is not just true for the technology that surrounds us: the same goes for knowledge, political ideology, value systems, society….

Whatever is considered “normal” during the time we live in, will usually seem normal to us. We will use the resources that are available to us at the time and not think much of it.

But if we all turn out the way we are only due to the environment around us and would be completely different people with completely different beliefs and values if we grew up in a different place, a different time or just a different family – what does that say our personalities that we all believe to be so unique?

Is it possible that we could be completely different people if we – for whatever reason – grew up in a different environment?

The idea seems scary at first. We all like to think that we are the way we are, no matter what. It gives a feeling of comfort to know who you are and what you stand for, so you like to believe that who you are comes from deep within you rather than being imposed on you through your environment. Nobody likes the idea that every “unique“ character trait is actually just the result of our living circumstances.

But when thinking more deeply about it, the mindset of us being a product of the environment we live in holds some valuable advantages.

Yes, we don’t have an influence on the time we are born into, and most of us also don’t get a say in what family we grow up in. But as soon as you are an adult, it is all up to you! If we are really just a product of our environment, then it makes sense to think deeply about what environment we choose to live in.

Consider the media you consume. Consider the friends you hang out with. Consider the people you date. Consider the books you read. Consider the places you travel to. Consider the hobbies you engage yourself in. Consider the job you have. All of that forms your environment. And all of that influences you, every day. So if you want to be a certain way or reach certain things in life, then make sure that your environment is in alignment with that!

I shot a video about that topic, too. Here it is:


If you are happy with who you are and where you are in life, perfect! Then don’t change anything. But if not, don’t think about how you can change yourself. Try to wrap your head around the fact that there is no “you”. You are only what your environment made you. So if you want to change anything, change your environment first.

Published in Spiritual Growth

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