toxic environments

In inspiration, motivation by Jay Clouse

I woke up with a ton of energy and enthusiasm yesterday.

I had an open morning, a lot of time to myself to create things, and it looked like it was going to be a B-E-A-UTIFUL day!

Fast forward a few blissful, coffee-fueled hours, and I was in a fog. I was recording some podcast material with Eric, and I was struggling.

“Are you ok?” Eric asked.

“Yeah I’m fine,” I genuinely thought.

But I was having trouble thinking, I was irritable, and was starting to even lash out at him.

I realized that if we kept recording, it wasn’t going to be our best work, and it would have implications on weeks of content — so we shut it down.

I told myself I was going to get my writing done, go for a run, and call it a day.

But fast forward a few more hours…and I had barely moved from the couch. I was even more irritable, I hadn’t run, and I hadn’t written anything either.

Then I remembered feeling this way before.

In my studio apartment, as the heat of the day wears on, the temperature of my apartment increases too. And to avoid background noise, I keep the air conditioning off when I am recording audio.

And slowly, the heat of my apartment saps my energy, my willpower, and my good mood.

It happens so slowly…so imperceptibly…that sometimes I don’t even realize it.

But this time I did. And I got up, turned on the AC, went for a run, and came back. The result is this email.

This isn’t just the story of my studio apartment in Columbus, Ohio. This is the story of toxic environments.

Toxic environments don’t happen in the blink of an eye. Usually, they are slow degradations of good environments. Or average environments that get worse.

The problem is, the more time we spend in an environment, the more comfortable we become. And we don’t notice what that environment is doing to us — until we get out.

It’s a tough catch-22.

Take notice when you find yourself in a genuinely good environment. How do you feel? How do you act?

Then, when you’re not feeling or acting that way, ask yourself if your environment might be playing a factor.

If it is, take responsibility to change it.

If you can’t do it alone, look for help.


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