A little over a month ago, I summarized the most important life lessons of my first 30 years into 3 P's: People, Purpose, and Perseverance. There's a 4th P I want to add to that list: Place.
By place, I mean both where you are and your physical surroundings. One's location in the world says a lot about their relation to the world. It is the natural environment you're part of, which provides the resources that are available. It is also the social environment you're part of, including connections with both those who are alive today and those who lived in the past and made this place possible. In addition, the physical surroundings of yourself in a location deepens your connection to or separation from it. The way your surroundings are constructed influences what is easy/difficult to do, what you have access to, the way you think, and even the way you feel. The impact of this is that the place you are in influences both who you are and what you do.
It's easy to forget about the influence of your physical environment in today's digital world. I did so when drafting my reflections on turning 30. That makes it all the more important to intentionally think about where you are and the way you construct your surroundings.
I realized this while Gabrielle and I were hiking Yosemite Falls for our one year anniversary. The medicinal nature of the environment was striking. It reminded me of how important the outdoors are to human health. It also reminded me of the importance of place in all of the major events in life: getting married in the mountains of Pennsylvania, graduating from high school in my hometown, seeing the first African Students For Liberty Conference in Nigeria, and more.
In fact, the entire hike at Yosemite encapsulates the four P's: I was with the right person: my wife. We had a clear purpose: reach the summit. The hike required perseverance: it wasn't the most difficult hike in the world, but we haven't been training the same as we did for our honeymoon trip up Mt. Rainier. And the place was perfect: it was beautiful, serene, and inspiring.
So make sure you surround yourself with the right people, determine your life's purpose, and persevere through the challenges that come your way. While you're doing that, don't underestimate the importance of the physical place you are doing it in.
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