A Place to Grow

by Admin on October 12, 2011

For a long time I’ve noticed how often the effects of environment play out in my coaching practice. Clutter being one factor.Working space another. Creative places another. Oh my list could go on.

Very often we’ve chosen inspiring places to meet for workshops and coaching; Kings Place – a beautiful place for art and music, the Tate Modern, Botanic Gardens at Kew to name but a few. A number of times we’ve coached people while we walked in the countryside and I’ve seen the powerful effect a clear horizon has on someones clarity of thinking.

It’s not surprising that Janie was drawn to the beautiful Le Puget with it’s open spaces, history and views to the Pyrenees. An amazing place brings out the amazing in people. The wisest of most religions have known this, building their sacred places in beautiful spots.

I’ve been noticing people who are incredibly effective and successful and how environment plays out in their live. I’ve also been aware of the physical and environmental signs in someones life when things are going ‘a little off kilter’. It’s interesting and thought provocing.

Emily Anthers wrote an article in the American Scientific about how room design affects your work and mood. In her article she gave the example of Jonas Salk the 1950s prizewinning biologist and doctor who was working on a cure for polio in a dark basement laboratory in Pittsburgh. “His progress was slow, so to clear his head, Salk traveled to Assisi, Italy, where he spent time in a 13th-century monastery, ambling amid its columns and cloistered courtyards. Suddenly, Salk found himself awash in new insights, including the one that would lead to his successful polio vaccine. Salk was convinced he had drawn his inspiration from the contemplative setting. He came to believe so strongly in architecture’s ability to influence the mind that he teamed up with renowned architect Louis Kahn to build the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California., as a scientific facility that would stimulate breakthroughs and encourage creativity”. Now, half a century later she states that “behavioral scientists are giving these hunches an empirical basis. They are unearthing clues about how to design spaces that promote creativity, keep students focused and alert, and lead to relaxation and social intimacy.”

A move of location for me and I’m seeing it for myself! A city of learning, of beautiful buildings, of open spaces. It would be hard not to be inspired but it’s more than the buildings though. It is the people, young, inspiring, learned, creative.  “It’s got to rub off”!

When  I was training with Richard Bolles (Author of What Color is Your Parachute) in 2009, he was 82 then, with a amazing mind and energy. All were inspired by him. His view was he liked young people and questioning thinkers around because he was enthused by them. So in terms of environment; the people you are mixing with are going to have a dramatic impact too. If you want to be more creative get yourself with creative people. If you want to be more positive make sure you are spending time with positive people and if you have a thirst for learning mix with others who want to learn. Think where you might find them. The library, the gallery, local campaigners or the allotment (… if you need more green fingers).

Place and people. People and place. See what you can do to influence those and be amazed by how they will influence you.

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