Environmental factors in planning

This is going to be a short post on how you might make your planned activities better through the use of environmental factors. For some, this isn’t going to be news because it’s probably common sense to many, but I am still going to present it because there might be some that don’t know about it.

Environmental factors are anything in your environment that might make a difference towards your planned activities. It could be purely physical (heat, wind, altitude), but it could also be more abstract (amount of money you have, perceived stress, etc.) For example, you plan a bicycle trip, and you take into calculation the heat, the state of your bicycle, the amount of time you have, and so on…

When you plan your activities, it is wise to take into consideration not only what you wish to do, but also the things that the environment presents to you. My personal example is this: I wish to become more resilient toward cold, so this is why I planned cold-resilience exercises when it is cold – in the winter.

Not only do you plan and just then take into consideration the environmental factors, you actively look at what your environmental factors have to offer. For example, you see that in the following months you will have no money and a lot of time. What activities can you plan for that period? How do you make best use of such a period? Or you have an upcoming period of very little sleep, a lot of work and high levels of stress. How do you make most use of that? Do your self improvement goals change? Maybe your general goal is incredible physical fitness, but you know that from lack of sleep, a lot of stress and no time (because of work), you won’t be able to work on this goal effectively (if at all). Maybe you change this goal into “being kind and polite despite the stress and overworkedness”. Maybe you change this goal into something else.

If you’re injured, how do you best make use of that? I know that in Parkour, if I have one limb incapacitated, I just go on with training – the only thing I change is I adapt and train with only 3 limbs. What is interesting is that this sort of training wouldn’t have been available to me if I hadn’t injured myself.

All of this is basically practical Stoicism: every misfortune is a chance to learn something new and to improve. Every sort of hinder is actually an obstacle that will definitely improve a certain aspect of you. If you cannot use a car when you would normally use it but you have to walk – then everything that can improve while walking, and not while driving, should improve. If you hurt your right hand and you’re right-handed, is this not the best opportunity you’ll ever have to learn to be ambidextrous? If your Internet connection is off and it absolutely won’t work, is this not the best chance you’ve had in months to read books?

Change your perspective and you will honestly change your life.


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