Almost four weeks ago, I left Walmart and moved to Los Angeles.
I had been in San Francisco for almost ten years and was starting to feel a bit stuck.
As I wrote about 6 months ago, we’re prisoners to our environments. After a year or two, our contexts become our commanders—ensuring that we do the same things the same ways in the same places.
There’s nothing that supports growth like a change of scenery—and the more substantial the change, the better.
This is why I think that one should, at the very least, move apartments or houses every couple of years. This is also why I believe that buying a home is one of the most stifling steps a person can take.
After living in the same environment for five years, ten years, etc. we become an automatically triggered set of routines. We do the same stuff and think similar thoughts, day after day after day.
Our internal state is a partial reflection of our external world, and when there’s nothing new to discover in the outer realm a large part of us goes dormant. We lose that curiosity, that exploratory impulse.
“Jason, what about taking baby steps?”
While that may work for some people and for some behaviors, I’ve always been a believer in clean slates. If you’re in the same place with the same behavioral cues/triggers, it’s hard to escape the inertia of your pre-existing habits.
And habits are rarely isolated. Our beliefs and behaviors are an interconnected web. It’s hard to change one without also changing all the others. Just look at a slice of brain tissue under the microscope. You won’t see a sea of individual dots, like stars in the night sky. You’ll see something akin to a spiderweb, an endless sea of entangled wisps of neural tissue.
Sure, you may be able to tweak one part of your system of behaviors. But what’s more likely—for that one tweak to change the rest of the web, or for the rest of the web to push the rebellious upstart back into place?
So this is my plea to you: if you’re feeling stuck, if you want to make leaps instead of baby steps, do something big. Make a shift. Give your brain space to dream, explore, and imagine.
Give it a new world to grow into. You only live once. You won’t regret it.