Change Your Environment Pt. 1
[caption id="attachment_3140" align="aligncenter" width="775"] The meaning of this generic stock photo will become clear. [/caption] I have long felt that people never really change. I don’t think that people are incapable of improving themselves, but I think that at their core we remain the same person all throughout life. The same strengths, the same weaknesses, the same foibles; the same core qualities drive our thoughts and actions forever. Well this makes it very difficult for those of us that want to change something about ourselves. If you want to lose weight, or get stronger, or build confidence, it’s pretty frustrating to think that you can’t ever change. But I don’t feel that many people need to change who they are at their core. Rather, they need to be in an environment that promotes the behavior they want. Let me give you an easy example: In America, a lot of people are overweight. Some of that is because of personal responsibility and some of that is because of cheap, plentiful, rich food. If you take a model overweight person – Let’s call her “Agatha” because we don’t currently have any enrolled students by that name – and moved her to a desert island, she’d probably lose weight. Did her willpower somehow improve? No, she just didn’t have the opportunity to overeat. Skinny Agatha and overweight Agatha are the same person, just in different environments. “Great Ken,” you’re saying, “So all I have to do to meet my fitness goals is get shipwrecked.” Well that certainly would help, but I haven’t established Krav Maga Hellish Desert Island yet, so I’d prefer you stuck around. Your family might feel similarly. However there is probably something you can change. For me it was Internet: A couple weeks ago I disconnected the Internet at my house. I still have plenty of access at work, coffee shops, and on my phone, but it’s had a profound effect on my life. A lot of people manage to be focused and productive in the face of distraction: I am not one of those people. The Internet and all it’s associated services (Netflix, YouTube, games) sucked the time right out of my day, but now instead of screwing around online I get work done, or practice music, or read, or fix that leak in my toilet that’s really been bothering me. I even eat more healthfully, I think because I’m not looking for things to snack on while I finish season five for Star Trek. But I’m still the same person. Put me back in that environment and I’d go right back to being a shiftless and irresponsible layabout, occasionally dragging myself to Krav Maga Raleigh to yell at other people about how they need to work harder. Every part of me that likes to procrastinate and screw around is still there, but without the opportunity, it just isn’t happening. Disconnecting the Internet didn’t make me a better person, it just took away an avenue for some undesirable traits. So what does this mean for you? Should everyone remove the Internet from their homes? Well probably. I certainly couldn’t recommend it more strongly, but maybe it’s not the right solution for you. Maybe you just need to get rid of cable, or the internet. Or your kids! Oh I’m kidding of course (but seriously that would probably help). We’ve got some more specific suggestions coming up in the explosive sequel to this article, but for right now why don’t you think about what you can change in your environment? And I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that the best environment you can be in is Krav Maga Raleigh, so we will see you on the mats!