It is a simple fact that the world around you can change who you are. Your environment provides cues as to how to behave, how to feel, how to think, and your mind processes these on a subconscious level. The result is that the nature of your location has a powerful, albeit subtle effect on how you will handle any given situation.
The most common example of this is a cluttered and disorderly space. It is well known that if you live your life in chaos, your mind will work chaotically. This is not necessarily a terrible thing as a mind which is not restrained by order will tend to be more creative; however it is important to be aware of this affect. It would, for example, be a detriment to someone who had aspirations of becoming an accountant, or a doctor.
Spaces which are unexciting, with few decorative adornments, designed using uninspiring colors, tend to dull our perceptions. Without anything to stimulate it, the mind goes into sleep mode, and a person can become lethargic, drowsy, and even less intelligent. This is a useful tactic if you want to keep people calm, and reduce violence, such as in a prison. However if you want greater productivity, imagination, and excitement from the people in a space, then you have to create a setting which fosters these traits.
These environmental affects on your personality are not difficult to figure out. They tend to be obvious and direct. If a room seems angry, then it will probably foster anger. If a room is decorated using serene colors, cool greens, ocean blues, then it will tend to create relaxation and ease.
Color is very important to this process but so are the decorations you choose to adorn the space with. Art which depicts war, or violence, will have a drastically different effect than pieces which depict love and affection. This even extends to more benign objects. Chess sets tend to be aggressive, pillows are inviting, and books are generally sophisticated, if organized properly. If left in a chaotic heap however, books will make a space seem cluttered, and will tend to cause over stimulation and disorder.
The most important thing is that we can control the world around us, at least to some extent. Aware that our environment is affecting us, we can change it to control those affects. We have the ability to decide who we want to be, and to design the world around us to match that.
This process begins in the home. There we have the most control, choosing the colors and the decorative accessories which make up the environment.
However even at home there are compromises. Although you are trying to create a haven for your own personality, this is a collaborative effort, a vision which has to be shared with everyone living in your home. The idea is to design a space which not only inspiring for your own goals, but which fosters collaboration and sharing between the various people living there.
When you step out your front door into the world, the control slips from your grasp, but even here you do have influence. You select your clothes, your suitcase, your bag, even your automobile. These are all extensions of your personal environment, and contribute to the tapestry of the world en mass.
At work we arrange things, we bring items in and throw others away, and we prioritize and organize the world around us. We may not be able to bring a team of painters in to redo the walls in our favorite Mauve, but we can place small photos, toys, and desk pieces throughout our space, and as long as you are not infringing on anyone else’s environment, you will be contributing to the decorative nature of the world as a whole.
We create our environment, and the environment in turn creates us. This reciprocal relationship is the process by which our lives are being constantly rewritten. Having the ability to understand and be aware of this affect, allows us to control it to some extent. In this way we can both influence ourselves, and contribute to the artistic beauty of the world around us.
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