Janik von Rotz

4 min read

Environment matters

This post gets a bit abstract. I felt uneasy publishing it. Usually, I write about solid and measurable matters. But this time I wanna talk about an unusual topic. A less graspable. Its about how we perceive ourself and our environment. How we put ourselves into perspective. I wanna talk about the very distinction between individual and environment and why it matters.

But first, I need to make a short introduction about my way of thinking.

Thinking models

I believe that everybody drafts a less complex version of reality in his head. In other terms everybody builds a thinking model in his mind that is constantly validated with reality. It is a mental collection of laws and rules that govern reality. The more accurate a models is, the less obstacles we face and the more fearless we become. Based on our model we assess risks and dangers, make decisions and take action. We construct narratives about how we act and speak in certain situations. It is all about oneself and how one is able to influence other people.


The “I” takes a central role in our thinking. Everybody adheres to individuality. It is the self that we shape through our lifetime. Having self love and narcissistic traits has become important. Self disciplinary and self responsibility are proclaimed as the must-have characteristics. If you want to be successful you need to be determined and focused. Everybody is the shaper of his own luck.

That is what I hear many times. But, I do not think it is entirely true. A lot of people miss an important point. We are in constant exchange with our environment and it affects us more than we might think.

Mental change

Let us take a step back and look at yourself from a birds view. Do not put yourself in the center of everything, but consider yourself as part of a system. A system consisting of other people and the relationship with them. Try to build up a narrative that speaks in the third person. Assess a situation not from a personal perspective, but from another persons. Consider not only the people you would talk to, but also consider the environment you are placed in.

The right environment

What I want to point out here, is that we make different judgements if we put the individual aside and start considering environment factors. You are different person if you are at the office, public transport, night club or on top of a mountain. Security, ease of socializing or simply the amount of possible interactions changes heavily for these environments. You act differently and set yourself different goals. Every environment differs in character and affects people in many ways.

Why it matters

Until here, this post might not have been interesting. Nothing too provocative. Just the message that we are affected by our surroundings. However, I would like to make an interesting claim:

The environment matters more than you.

Or in other words take your surroundings more seriously than yourself.

Lets face it, sometimes you feel accepted in life. Your ideas and values resonate with people at work or your family at home. Sometimes you feel sad and cannot point a finger at the cause. You face conflicts at work or get into trouble with somebody for no apparent reason. Actually, you experience dissonance and resonance with your environment. However, the popularity of the individual and self-centered thinking makes you question yourself. “Why am I facing this issue or why do I feel unhappy?”, you might ask. I claim more often it is the environment that matters and affects how one feels.

You do not feel happy at work?
The company your are working for might be the wrong environment and you should consider to look for a new one.
You feel fulfilled and happy?
You might have found the right place and wanna stick to it.
You feel distracted and restless?
Seek out place that calms you.
You have difficulty to sort your thoughts?
Head out and go for a walk in the forest.


My message here is simple. Once you have grown character, you should not ask if you are doing the right thing, you should ask if you are in the right place. Does my environment provide the job opportunities that I seek, do I have access to the social network of my choice or would I be better off in a different spot? These are the questions that should be answered.

Categories: Thoughts
Tags: individual , identity , environment , philosophy
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