Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

December 4, 2019

To Change Who You Are, You Have To Change Where You Are.

Where you are, determines what you do.

It doesn’t matter how cold-hearted or foolish you might be, you’re going to change your behavior when you’re in a church or around someone you feel is especially religious. The same is true for how you act on vacation away from the office.

It’s different — and so you act differently.

That’s because your environment has a lot to do with your actions.

What you do isn’t entirely a result of willpower. In fact, just using willpower to change who you are limits your ability to get to where you want to be.

You can lose weight and have a pantry full of cookies and candy — but it’s going to be really hard.

Almost impossible, in fact.

But what if you had a pantry full of fresh ingredients and a refrigerator full of fruits and vegetables? It’s almost automatic that you’re going to lose weight.

The same is true with money and a bountiful career.

If you hang around people who are smart with their money and conscientious in their planning, chances are so will you.

It’s why we use that phrase “birds of a feather flock together”. Rich people understand rich people. They understand the mindset and the journey it took to get there. So they naturally gravitate to other rich people.

You don’t need to hang around rich people in order to become rich yourself, but, if you change your environment so that financially responsible people are all you surround yourself with, you are doing more for yourself than any app on your phone or willpower alone can do for you.

You’ll become a bit richer putting yourself in an environment where that’s what automatically happens.

Where that is the behavior that is rewarded.

Think about rehab for a moment. It’s rather obvious but still bears explaining. When you step away from your daily life to battle addiction head-on, you change your environment.

You go away to a secluded place where all the influences point you in the direction of recovery.

Lasse Viren of Finland, was a police officer who burst onto the international track scene in 1971 running the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events. He finished a miserable 7th and 17th place in each respective race. He ran too fast at the beginning of the race and faded fast.

He had talent but needed to make a change in order to become a winnner

Determined to make a difference, Lasse decided to move more than 4,000 miles away to Thompson Falls in Kenya to begin a brutal training regiment. Under the 250 foot scenic waterfall at the base of the Ewaso Narok river, Lasse pushed his body to the breaking point each day.

As the mist of the powerful waterfall crashed down around him, he planned to smash the world record for the 2-mile event at an event in Helsinki in the early summer of 1972. Which he ended up doing.

The full story can be found in EDGY Conversations.

Change only happens when you are deliberate about your environment. Lasting change, that is.

We can all change for short periods of time. And we all do. But then we slip back into old behaviors. We fall victim to old vices. We lose our way and get in trouble almost automatically.

And then we wonder what happened. And it’s worse than that.

We feel shame — because we didn’t have enough willpower that last time.

But it’s not about willpower. It’s about your location. It’s about your environment.

If you want to change who you are then you need to physically change where you are.

It’s that simple. The greatest life hack for getting to where you want to be isn’t learning a new skill, it’s simply getting up and moving.

That might seem radical, but maybe that’s why so few people live fulfilled, rewarding lives.

Maybe that’s why so few of us actually live our full potential. It’s easier to feel shame and guilt for a short period of time than it is to make the drastic change of moving from where you are to a place that will help you get to where you want to be.

  • It’s easier to pretend that God doesn’t want you to be successful.
  • It’s easier to pretend like suffering is your lot in life.
  • It’s easier to pretend as if the world has it out for you.

It’s so much easier to make excuses than it is to do the hard work of moving.

But it’s where all the results are.

Is it any wonder that Olympic athletes move to the mountains of Colorado or Kenya where the high altitude helps them run faster? No. Being in that place is what makes them better. Not different thinking. Not better coaching.

Not a thousand different variables other than the fact that their location is what allows them to dominate.

Think about that for yourself.

If the root cause of underperformance is your location, then what do you need to change?

Maybe you need to move jobs so that you’re in a place where your spirit feels refreshed and renewed.

Maybe you need to move to a different part of the country so that who you are matches a place where people are encouraging and inspiring.

You have unlimited options for moving.

In fact, if you think about all the things that happen to you on a weekly basis — almost every one of your frustrations results from you being at a place where you don’t need to be.

You’ve made a choice to be there. And to get different results, you need to make the choice to be somewhere else.

Where is that for you?

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.