“Most people become who they are because of the circumstances they are exposed to.” – Vincent Nwachukwu
I have read the David and Goliath story a thousand times and I have come to the personal realisation that Goliath was the underdog the whole time. The exposure that David’s everyday world gave him allowed him to grow his expectations in life. It shaped his perspective and allowed him to dream big. David had been exposed to a type of Goliath in the form of the lion and the bear but Goliath had never been exposed to a type of David. He had no idea what he was facing.
That there is the power of exposure. Had David never fought and defeated the lion and the bear, facing Goliath would have literally been a giant task. We live in a global village today with the internet exposing us to almost everything. Yet still with that amount of exposure some people never dream bigger than their immediate surroundings. The biggest lesson I would want you to take from this post is that, exposure builds experience. B.J Neblett put it like this “We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”
Sometimes we look at past actions and events in our life and judge them, wish they didn’t happen, look at ourselves and wish we had acted differently. However, “we are the sum total of our experiences”, they make us who we are today, they create the colours of our lives. When we choose to ignore what they have taught us, how they have formed who we are, we lessen the richness and fullness of who we are and what we have to offer the world.
My take is that when events and changes happen in our life, we have a part to play in this from conscious (and often unconscious) intention and direction we set for ourselves. Classic example is the Kardashians and how they have influenced fashion, style and culture globally. We may not directly subscribe to their way of living but somewhere somehow we have all been exposed to it. This exposure has raised the expectation of a lot people in the world, it has made the Kardashians ‘attainable’.
Same way with athletes like LeBron James or Tom Brady. The exposure to their lives is in detail so much so that you can mimic their every move in life. And this is because when we surround ourselves with strong, high-achievers with good character, we are more likely to become just like them. On the other hand, imagine how much of a negative influence low-achievers can have on you. If your best friends have a poor outlook on life and are satisfied with sub-par performances, then there’s a good chance that some of that negativity will rub off on you. Even when you can be a LeBron.
In order to improve your life, grow your exposure and associate with people with higher standards than you. If you have high expectations for yourself and you surround yourself with people who also have bold expectations, you’ll have a greater quality of life.
Everything that you allow into your life and every action you take reflects who you are. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have the fanciest things or work in the corner office right away, but it does mean that you do the best with whatever means you have. You don’t have to be top dog at the company to do excellent work. You don’t have to be wealthy to keep things organised. Going above and beyond will take you to the next level of success.
If you feel like you’re stagnating in your current situation, it might be time to make some changes. Change and growth can arise when you make conscious choices about your environment.
Beyond aspiring to improve your environment, keeping better company can go a long way toward helping you reach your potential. You can’t go through your life without people. And the types of people with whom you associate can impact your work.
When you are surrounded by people with low exposure or standards, it may feel like you don’t have to put in extra work. You may perceive yourself as good enough because you aren’t comparing your work with people aiming for continuous improvement.
This means that even though you may be doing better than the average person in your peer group, you haven’t even scratched the surface of your full potential. Highly motivated people are constantly striving for improvement. And when you spend time with them, you recognise that you have plenty of growing to do too. You’ll make more breakthroughs than you thought possible because you are pushing yourself. A fulfilling life doesn’t just come about through a stroke of good luck. If that were true, then people who win the lottery would be guaranteed happiness. In fact, most people who hit the jackpot end up miserable because even though they acquired a windfall of cash. They could not control the people and circumstances around them. Also lacking exposure to large sums of money or any form of money management.
The habits that you commit to every day can have a greater positive impact on your life than getting a large sum of money. When you expose yourself to people who help you grow, you’ll make greater gains. Peers who enrich your life with their presence and actions can help you reach your goals.
If you feel that you’re stuck, seek out people who have high expectations. Take notice of the coworker that is satisfied with turning in the best work. Or the friend who seems to have a clear direction in life.
Connect with people that have rigorous standards for themselves and others. Talk to them to figure out how they reached their level of success. Perhaps they have a philosophy or mindset that you could adopt to improve yourself.
When you talk to these people, try to learn their perspectives about work, relationships, and life. Analyse why they think the way that they think. As your relationship develops, you can share your perspectives and seek feedback from them.
As you discuss life with them, think about what aspects of their approach you could incorporate into your life. If some mindset or action has propelled them to be successful, try to emulate that. Mimicking positive behaviors can change your attitude. This is just like forcing yourself to smile to induce happiness or striking a power pose to improve your confidence.
It is not the same as blindly copying whatever someone else does to be successful. This is about thoughtfully analysing the successes of others and finding what works for you. It’s important to keep high standards in all aspects of your life. Expose yourself to things that bring out the best in you. For David, spending time with his father’s sheep looked like a pitiful job but it exposed him to many talents. He learned to write, to sing, to play instruments, to fight, to lead.
What are you exposing yourself to? Is your exposure growing you or keeping you stagnant. What are your expectations in life? We would love to hear from you in the commnets section.
As always, hope you and yours are keeping safe.