We are creatures of habit and masters of adapting ourselves to our circumstances. And if we experience something long enough, it becomes our new normal.
Imagine getting into a hot tub and slowly getting used to the hot water. Or the novelty and fun of a new job slowly transforming into everyday mundane work.
It’s how traveling or living abroad can change us deeply. We experience new foods, sounds, smells and language patterns. We take in, process and adapt to a completely different cultural mindset.
We do not feel the change taking place, but when we return to what we previously knew to be normal, we are different. It is not uncommon that most people don't experience ’culture chock’ until they have returned back home.
I’m a big fan of immersive environments.
I spent a summer at a leadership program at Lehigh University and shared everyday life with 100 people from 50 countries. After 2 months, my view of our world had changed dramatically, in a beautiful way.
A high-school year abroad gave me a new language and cultural understanding. A one-week yoga retreat changed my relationship to yoga forever.
So, are we supposed to go traveling and go on retreats all the time?
No, not necessarily. But there is one important fact that we should reflect on..
Wherever we are and whatever we do, we are always fully immersed in an environment.
Whether we are in Rome on holiday, or sitting in our living room writing a blog post.
We still have the same period of time and same possibilities to take in what it is we want to experience. Whether we are aware of this environment or not, that is entirely up to us.
We really only have two choices here. Either we let our environment shape us or we decide to shape our environment.
And when we start to actively create our environment so it supports us, we truly can change the course of our life.
I am learning Spanish. I don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country so I subscribe to Spanish blogs, ”like” Spanish pages on Facebook so they appear in my feed and listen to Spanish tunes. I make Spanish a part of my life as much as I can.
If we spent our time with the Richard Bransons of the world - how would that affect our view of the world and what’s possible?
”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn
What would support you? Perhaps it is music you love, people who inspire you or a colleague to get along with better.
Creating a supportive environment does not have to be a dramatically difficult task. It may be a weekend house, a few friends, a bottle of wine and an honest conversation. The art of immersion does not have to be difficult to master.
But, some of the most dramatic shifts in our lives happen once we realise we can choose what environment we want.
What environment do you want to be immersed in?