Will Storr, in his book Selfie: How We Became so Self-Obsessed, and What it is Doing to Us, had this to say on the importance of our environment:
Put a lizard on an iceberg and it’s miserable. Now release it into the Sahara. The core of who that lizard hasn’t altered in the slightest and yet it’s become happy. Its experience of life, but not its self, has transformed. If we want to inch towards happiness then, we should stop trying to change ourselves and start trying to change our environment…
We can (or we have to believe we can) change the people, the places, and the things that make up our environment. Change can mean that we either physically move stuff around, or else we can alter our relationships with them through interactions.
Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it? Our gut reaction is to ask, as the great poet / philosopher Mick Jones once did, “should I stay or should I go now?”
BUT, it’s not just about staying or going. There’s much more to be considered and reconfigured in our current surroundings.
If we turn to David Burkus’ insight (also discussed here) that we are not growing a network, we’re just developing (or redeveloping) one that we’re already embedded in, we can look at the iceberg and the Sahara in a less physical way.
While it is certainly true that sometimes we have to get up and go, other times we merely need to build shelter, get the portable heater out, and revisit additional aspects and connections in search of a new perspective.
There are times to take the path of least resistance (like when it’s not worth the effort) and other times to take the path of most resistance (when it is worth the effort).
We can realign our environments with the networks that we’re best acclimated for if we take Storr’s insight and apply Berkus’ approach together. It’s not enough to do the work, we have to do the right work.