Matthew Lekushoff |
Microenvironments | Peer Groups | Revisiting Gaiman

In my last newsletter , I spoke about the importance of environment in determining outcomes. I'm going to expand on that concept today, but rather than discuss macro-environments, I want to focus on our microenvironments -----the people, subcultures, information, and opinions with which we surround ourselves on a regular basis.
"The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the expectations of your peer group. Choose your peers wisely." -----  Tony Robbins
We all know how hard it is to consistently do the right thing. It takes more willpower than most of us have. This is why it's important to surround yourself with the right microenvironment. If most of the people you spend time with are physically active, you'll likely become more active too. Your friends might invite you to a spin or yoga class before catching up over a coffee, or they might coax you into doing a Fitbit challenge with them.
We're hardwired to fit into groups and part of fitting into a group is swimming with the group's tide.  
This obviously doesn't just apply to exercise. After two decades of working with a range of clients, I've noticed many commonalities between the various levels of affluence. Most of the wealthy people I've met tend to think, read, and talk about business and money considerably more than those who aren't wealthy. They also tend to surround themselves with others who are like-minded. Much like avid hockey fans congregate to watch games together to reminisce about a goal, team, or favourite player, their passions are increased and enhanced by each other.  
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -----Jim Rohn
However, it goes deeper than that. Your peer group becomes your network -----  a network you can tap into for advice, resources, and opportunities. Often, this happens without you even desiring it in the first place.
Throughout your lifetime, it's a good idea to check in with yourself and your surrounding every now and again. Take a step back and consider how your peer group at any given stage is influencing you, and whether this is a good or bad influence. If you're not completely satisfied with what you discover, the solution may be as simple as increasing your peer group, rather than changing it all together. This could include working with a professional, like a personal trainer in the case of fitness or a financial advisor for wealth, or it could even mean finding a place to volunteer to widen your perspective and increase your circle.
"What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson." -----  Joseph Tussman
That being said, success rarely comes solely through external sources and without taking responsibility for your actions. However, filtering these sources -----  what you read, watch, and with whom you spend time-----   can help you find focus and achieve your goals. You'll still have to do a lot of heavy lifting if you want to change something in your life, but this is one of the strategies you can use to lighten the load.
I've been with my fiancée, Tanya, for just over four years. She's fun, warm, incredibly understanding and treats everyone around her with love and respect. Although I've known for a long time that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, what I hadn't considered was that by being around her every day, I'd also become a better person. Now, if only her good looks could rub off on me too....
In the review queue
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway: A short, but wonderful classic by Ernest Hemmingway. It's been years since I read any Hemmingway and this book reminded me that I should get back into him.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: I've been hearing from various sources how good the narrated version of this book is. It didn't disappoint. Expertly read by the author (there is also a version with an ensemble cast), Neil Gaiman takes you on a fun and mysterious journey that is both memorable and thrilling. If you aren't familiar with Gaiman, you may enjoy his 2012 commencement speech at The University of the Arts. It's one of my favourites!
Yuval Harari on Sapiens by EconTalk: Another great EconTalk podcast with Yuval Harri, author of the outstanding book Sapiens.
The History of Money by Visual Capitalist: Ever wonder what money used to look like throughout the ages? This infographic will show you!

Who do wealthy people avoid? by Kathleen Elkins: A quick article on how it's not just who you spend time with, but also who you don't, that counts.

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Matthew Lekushoff, CIMA

Financial Advisor 

Raymond James Ltd.


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