Is your environment helping or hindering your growth?

I am very grateful to take some time off to chill out at Shangri la Hotel a couple of weeks back. I am awed by the amazingly beautiful koi pond connected to the hotel. There are so many gorgeous Koi fishes swimming freely in the pond, I truly enjoyed watching them as I reflect on life’s lessons taught by Dr Qubein.

Here’s a video of Koi pond that I took at the hotel:


According to Dr Nido Qubein, (who is an award-winning motivational speaker, author, consultant and a successful businessman) a koi fish grows in proportion to its environment. He describes the impact of your social network using the example of Koi fish.

“If you keep it in a pail of water, it grows to be only a few inches long. But if you let it loose in the wild it can grow up to two feet.”

It does matter the kind of environment you are in and what kind of influence you are getting. The people you associate with plays a vital role in moulding you.

Are you like the koi fish that has been kept in a pail? Is your environment stifling your growth? Are you remaining in your comfort zone, protecting yourself from any risk and failure?

Or are you taking massive action and hanging around people who are better than you (and that will encourage you to “play up a level”)?

Dr Qubein suggested you do this exercise

“Make a list of the 10 people you spend the most time with your top 5 goals and top 5 values. Compare the lists. Are the people you spend the most time with congruent with your values and goals? If not, you might be held back by this association.”

In a nutshell, you need to spend quality time with positive people and in a positive environment.

Here are some important good questions to ask:

-Who are you associating with?

-Have they influence you in a positive and supportive ways or otherwise?

-Are those people you associate with helping you to grow?

Are they your hot air balloon, who brings you up higher to the next level or are they a parachute, who brings you down (and run you down).

Those are powerful questions that we can ask ourselves today.

Personally, in the past, I do feel trapped, like the Koi in the pail, I was not in the right environment. The environment stifled my growth and creativity. Sometimes, out of respect, you allow people to control you with their agenda. And out of their insecurity they will run you down and stop you from growing.

It took me a few years to finally realised that I have to take full responsibility of the choices I make. I can stay in the ‘pail’ and live my life according to someone else’s expectations and agenda. Or I can move away from negative, controlling and critical people. The decision to move away from the negative and surround myself with positive, nurturing and loving people are the most important decision I have made in my life.

Take stock of the people you hang around with in school, at work, at social setting and online.  Are they helping or hindering you from achieving your goals? Sometimes it is difficult to decide to get away from the environment you are in, however, staying in a place that stunt your growth could cause more pain in the long run.

I have learnt a great deal from Jim Rohn who was American entrepreneur, author, business philosopher and motivational speaker. Here are some questions that Mr Rohn shared which I find most helpful :

Who am I around?

What are they doing to me?

What have they got me reading?

What have they got me saying?

Where do they have me going?

What do they have me thinking?

And most important question :

What do they have me becoming

Then ask yourself the big question : “Is that okay?”

You need not cast blame on others, you have the power to change things that do not work in your favour. You don’t have to rely on others to make you feel happy or wait for others to give you opportunities to excel. Stay strong and happy by creating your own opportunities in all areas of life. Always have faith in God and believe that you are blessed with Awesomeness!

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