Trees Don't Grow In Salt Mines

Change your environment in order to thrive…

Trees Don't Grow In Salt Mines

Change your environment in order to thrive…

A Higher Chance Of Success

Your progress depends more on your environment than you might think.

Depending on where you are and who you surround yourself with, your chances of succeeding in your field will vary enormously. A poorly optimised environment will hold you back, while the right environment will inspire and propel you to new heights of creativity and achievement.

If you for example want to become a country singer, then it’s a good idea to go to Nashville or a similar place where country music is flourishing. Where it is accepted and encouraged, and performed by artists at a high level. Where, by just being there and interacting with the people, you are flooded with inspiration and knowledge.

Or imagine you want to become a tech entrepreneur. In which environment are you more likely to succeed? A quaint countryside village mostly inhabited by farmers, or Silicon Valley, where everyone at the coffee shop is talking tech and bouncing ideas?

It's pretty clear.

Change Your Environment

You may very well have commitments preventing you from moving to an area that’s bustling with people and companies related to your particular field.

That's okay, the change in environment doesn't have to be a physical one. Where you spend your time online also has a great impact on your progress.

Because it's something I have personal experience with, I'll use as an example the online community I created for compositors, called The Companions.

There, you have people at the top of their field: high calibre compositors and supervisors working in the most prestigious VFX companies in the world, who have won Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA, and VES awards. And alongside them, you have up-and-coming compositors of all levels looking to improve their skills.

Together, we discuss compositing, share VFX industry news, tools, and ideas, and help each other when we get stuck.

It's the opposite of a salt mine.

Instead, the community provides nutrient rich soil which is regularly watered and tended to, allowing trees to sprout, grow, and strengthen.

There are many online communities which can help you improve your skills. Seek out the ones that are right for you, and I can guarantee that you will develop much faster and go much further than on your own.

And don't forget that sometimes, it’s not the physical or online environment that’s holding you back.

Limiting Beliefs

In your mind, you have painted a picture of the world we're in, and by extension a picture of yourself and who you are.

It’s been happening since a young age, and a lot of fears, assumptions, and ideas about how the world works have influenced your uniquely painted landscape. Maybe it's time to change this environment of limiting beliefs? The subconscious boundaries and limitations that yourself or others have imposed on you may not be serving you fairly (anymore).

If you are telling yourself 'I'm not a numbers person', 'I can't draw', or ‘I’m too old to go back to school’, I invite you to challenge those assumptions. It can be anything; I highly encourage you to do an audit of your thoughts and beliefs. Find out if you are holding yourself back without a real reason.

However, it won’t be enough to just try something once, immediately say you’re bad at it, and quit. Remember, success requires persistence, and most likely your wastebasket isn't full enough. You’re going to have to make a lot of drawings before they become any good.

But to begin with, challenge yourself to take that first step across the boundary which has been holding you back. And wherever you decide to go – whether physically, online, or in your mind – look for the soil that will allow you to grow.

Exit the salt mine.

I hope you found this article useful. For more productivity tips, see Productivity.