“The environment is everything that isn’t me” – Albert Einstein
As discussed in the “How the world works” section, your reality is determined by the input you receive, and in turn, your input is based on the environment you are in. Given the importance of our environment, we also want to make sure it is well positioned to help us. As usual, I start with “what I want”. In this case, I came up with:
I want to have a healthy, safe, secure, and enjoyable environment that gives me freedom from worry and supports me in living the life I want.
Much of this is determined by where your environment is, so choose the best environment that you can find. Money is clearly an important ingredient in providing more options for where that is, which is one of the reasons I chose it as the last foundation piece.
Wherever your environment is, you have a significant influence on what is in it and how it is structured.
In the past few years I have adopted many of the concepts of minimalism, with the idea of having less stuff, but more meaning for each thing I own. Here are the general guidelines I’ve adopted:
- As much as possible, everything in our house makes us happy and joyful.
- Simplify. The fewer things I have, the more time I can spend appreciating and enjoying each specific item and the less time I spend maintaining it (cleaning, etc).
- Everything should have a place, preferably visible (limit storage to as small a space as possible).
- Everything should have a purpose (memento, growth, fun, functional, or security).
- Everything should be used within the year – If I haven’t used it within one year, I give it to someone who will get better use out of it.
I also like to keep a small list of the “precious few” assets that mean the most to me and have systems in place to recover them from loss. These days, they are mostly in the form of memories – photographs and videos of both the extraordinary experiences I’ve enjoyed as well as the ordinary days with my family and friends. Thankfully, there are many backup options today that can cover this.
Ultimately, I often remind myself that if my house burned down, but my family and I are healthy and safe, all is still well with the world. The rest can be replaced.
7th Piece of Advice: Your mind and body are in the environment all day, every day, so design your environment to help you, not hinder you.