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Key To Success & Happiness

Environments are the key to success and happiness

I was reading a book last summer, and it spoke about ways to find happiness, and one of the things it explained was this:

The writer was looking outside her window and was watching a squirrel going about its business. It was collecting nuts, running around, whistling happily and doing all the things that squirrels do in their environment. To the writer, it looked happy. She then wondered how this squirrel would do if it was taken into an environment it did not know or thrive in, like the middle of the desert. It would still be a squirrel, but it would not be able to be the best squirrel it could be, nor would it be able to participate in things that made that squirrel happy. It highlighted the importance of environment…a HEALTHY, SUCCESSFUL environment that would allow the squirrel to thrive.

It really struck a chord with me. Part of my coaching philosophy has always been about “creating environments for success”. Putting my athletes in a situation where they are having fun with like-minded people, there is a natural flow in the group and its backed up by professional coaching and infrastructure. Pretty simple, and it has worked.

But it also has led me to expand upon that philosophy with regards to ALL facets of our lives. In our family life, our professional lives and in our social lives. Environment is a key to success in all of these.

Why is this? Let’s take a quick look at some reasons:


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha.

Buddhism expands upon this quote by highlighting that before you can help make other people happy, you must first find happiness in yourself. You must love yourself and value yourself.

Environment plays a key role in this. I have been battling with this myself for the past few years. I wonder why I am always happiest near the ocean (pretty obvious…I’m a surfer who lives in the mountains!), and why I am a bear when I get back to where I live. It’s because I’m a squirrel in the desert. I live in a place that makes me unhappy. This makes me offload that unhappiness off on my kids and friends. Not cool!

Just as happiness begets happiness, unhappiness begets unhappiness. If you are in an environment that adds stress, adds to your unhappiness, then get out. It’s doing you, your loved ones and your friends no favors. Go find your happy environment!


There is the parable of the sower that can be found here:

Basically, it illustrates that things will thrive best when in the best environment for them. We all want to be happy and successful, but we can’t possibly do that if we are in an environment that does not allow us to fulfill those wishes, or at least give us the best chance to do that.

If I LOVE surfing and want to get better at surfing, I’m probably not going to live in Nebraska! I am going to move to California for example, to be in a great environment with like-minded people. Which leads us to our next point…..


Okay, and I hope none of my friends in Colorado takes offense to this, but I live in a place where I really have no common experiences or shared experiences with people in my community except for my job. That is no-one’s fault, I just am not into mountain activities except snowboarding, in which I earn my living. I’m not a mountain biker (I don’t like lycra!), not a hiker, not a fly fisherman, not a hunter….and I really wish I was (except maybe a hunter) …but it’s just not my thing. It makes it very difficult to cultivate a social environment of success, and can lead to loneliness and agitation. Yet, when I get back to water, start surfing I am back in an environment with like-minded people, with similar experiences to my own. It makes it easy to forge friendships and thrive.


Obviously, we know this applies to within the house…but it is almost MORE important with regards to where you live, the schools your kids attend and the activities they are involved in. Childhood can be a make or break time for our grommets…...and frankly, kids can be SO cruel. Why have your kids in a place that will destroy their froth of life?

My kids are a great example. Their dad is a snowboard coach. They don’t mind snowboarding, but definitely not their passion. Winters are tough on them…. they don’t want to be on the mountain every weekend and school holiday. They love the warmth, the water, surfing and the dramatic arts.

Due to this, we are moving to a place that allows them to thrive and to have access to the things that excite them…that will help them grow and expand.

This applies to the schools they attend. Make sure that it offers all your kids need to grow.


It’s so easy to get locked into a job or career that pays the bills. But does that make you happy? Does that inspire you? Is that work environment one that’s going to help you be the best YOU?.

We live in changing times. The 9 to 5 route may not be the best alternative for all of us, although I am sure it works for some.

A recent study confirms that all of us are actually spending close to 50 hours per week…minimum…working in our careers. That’s a big chunk of time! You might as well make sure that you are in a professional environment you enjoy!

I see so many folks that have nothing left in the tank after working. No quality time for themselves, their kids, their partner or their friends. Seems insane, right?

Might as well take some chances, dare to dream and find something that you love doing…hey, you might even make a living from it!

Environments have been a key to happiness, success and personal expansion that seems to be overlooked by a great many of us.

I have been lucky to learn from my own career…. a career I am lucky enough to love…. just how important environments are.

Go find your environments…go be happy….and dare to dream!

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