Terraform your environment

Mastery of oneself can be restrained or amplified by your working environment.

  • Problem

  • Your place of learning and/or work is not conducive for productivity or growth.

  • You feel like the people around you and their attitude is slowly corroding and influencing you negatively.

  • You feel burdened by extraneous or environmental factors that are outside of your control.

  • You feel limited by the things you have access to, or what is available.


  • Identify and evaluate your environmental dimensions - There are different environmental dimensions: social environment, living environment, work environment, relationship environment. You evaluate them and determine which ones are doing well and which ones are struggling. You decide which environments to nourish, trim, discard, or retain.

  • Amplify good environments - The good environments that you already have, double down and strengthen them. They will be good foundations for your growth and living. For example, choosing which good classmates to surround yourself with will heavily impact your learning environment.

  • Minimize the damage from bad environments - We sometimes do not have control over our environments, and some environments are bad. Recognize these situations and do not waste more effort, energy, attention, or patience in these areas. Recognize the disadvantageous scenarios, prepare to avoid them, and minimize damage and costs. Avoid bullies and avoid high-risk low-reward activities.

  • Determine when to relocate from bad environments - You may not always be able to afford to relocate and find better opportune environments (e.g. new job, new set of friends, new relationship). Nonetheless, determine for yourself what your exit strategy is, because not knowing when to leave or what your hard boundaries are is a major factor for getting stuck. Not strategizing even though you recognize the problem is worse.

Effective Use

  • Energy-efficient - You don’t waste time in places, situations, jobs, or relationships that are evidently harmful, toxic, or dangerous. In hard-pressed situations (e.g. family relationships), you know how to minimize your attention, energy, and emotional costs in things you do not have control of.

  • Directed - Recognizing whether an environment is good or bad for you is a fruit of knowing what you want and where you are headed in life. Having a clear mind on what your objective is and what values you stand for gives you clear directions and evaluation metrics on what “good” environments are.

  • Empowered - You feel less helpless. Eventually, you don’t feel helpless anymore, and you feel frustrated. Later, you no longer feel frustration- you just simply have clear focus on the things you need to do because the plan is set- and you just know when to leave bad environments and you can recognize good environments.

  • Sustainable - You are drawn to values and principles that are long-term sustainable, and you look to engage people in long-term trust games rather than short-term advantages with people.

  • Mimicry - When you surround yourself with supporting friends and good influences, you will eventually adopt their positive and action-oriented thinking. As a social creature, you will have a tendency to want to belong to this group, and will adjust your behaviors and mindsets to conform to it.


  • Helpless and desolate - You feel helpless and hopeless, and resigned to your fate that you are in the wrong place.

  • Distracted - You choose to find short-term numbing activities (escapism through games, or tv series) and try not to think about the hard questions of what you want and don’t want in your life.

  • Clueless - You also don’t see “the end of the tunnel” of how to get out of this bad environment or situation.

  • Envious - You feel envy or jealousy with people who are in better environments, but this negative energy doesn’t translate to anything productive or uplifting for your personal life.

  • Inactive - You recognize that there is a problem, but you don't schedule when you will strategize how to get out of the environment. Break down the task into small steps that are cheap: (1) spend 60 seconds dreaming of a better environment and life, (2) spend 2 minutes thinking of when you'll be free in the week, and (3) sit down for 5 minutes and figure out how to get out, when you want to get out, and who you could ask for help from.


  • TBD.


  • TBD.

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