7 ways intelligent people thrive in toxic environments

Becoming a high performer and producing at insane levels requires managing two environments – the internal as well as external.

How to survive & thrive in negative environments

Image Credit: Juan Ignacio Tapia/ UnSplash.com

You could have the most unbelievable mindset totally crafted for insane productivity, but if your surroundings don’t support you, you will be spinning in circles, sputtering along without much result.


The long and short of peak performance at your craft, work, job – or whatever it is you call it- is this: know your outcome clearly, get clarity on your values, develop some empowering beliefs that fuel you, manage your mental state and physiology well, and then consistently practice and sharpen your skills.


But one aspect that’s overlooked sometimes is the effect of external environment on your performance.

This includes people, information and things.

The sad fact is there’s more negative in the air than positive. And whatever you are exposed to has an effect on you.


In ways that are so subtle they go unnoticed.


Until much later when their compounded effect has taken you down a road so far from where you started, that going back is next to impossible.


So if there’s so much negative thrown at us constantly, how to deal with it? Shouldn’t you have a strategy to emerge unscathed from the constant bombardment of toxic people, information and surroundings?


Here are seven strategies that work:


#1 : Minimize your exposure-time

How much time do you spend daily on consuming news (on TV and internet)? What about hanging around people who speak toxic and act toxic?

Every bit of information that your mind is exposed to does two things : first, it creates an immediate response in your body (in the form of neurotransmitters and hormones that produces positive or negative effects in your system). Second, over the long term, it gently nudges your thinking and outlook of life in a particular direction (again – either good or bad).

Though toxic people and news are everywhere, you must be intentional about guarding your mind against over-exposure to them.


#2 : Develop a protective cover

You must have noticed rescue-workers entering a contaminated site with bulky protective suits. This safeguards them from the deleterious effects of toxic contact.

What protective shield must you build to insulate yourself from negative thinking you will inevitably get exposed to?

I believe you can develop a bubble of protection by doing the following:

  • Tap into your spirit: Spend time daily in meditation and praying. Develop greater self-awareness and meta-cognition (that process of becoming aware of your thinking!)
  • Reflect daily on values that you hold dear. Assess how well you measure up to them.
  • Aim for a net-positive day: A perfect day is an illusion; it’s usually a mixed bag mostly. While challenges and struggles inevitably arrive, never fail to purposefully design a few positive experiences so that your net daily balance is always positive.


#3 : Vaccinate yourself

The best vaccination is a steady, constant dose of the good stuff. Like reading good books and studying great people. Like a tap through which clean water flows and eventually crowds out the muck, expanding your reservoir of rich thinking (by reading and reflecting) will serve as an antidote against the constant barrage of toxic people and environments.


#4 : Regularly detoxify yourself

Like I mentioned earlier, bad attitudes and downward-pulling emotions (from others) is unavoidable. But being continuously exposed to this will deplete your energy and injure your zest for life.

It’s a good idea to take a break every once in a while, and bring yourself up for a breath of fresh air.

By seeking out and spending time with refreshing people….those with an aura of liveliness, optimism and humor.

By immersing yourself in beautiful, life-affirming surroundings…in nature, in an art gallery, in a public library or even in a bustling coffee-shop.

Take yourself fully away from your same-old environs and become lost in a getaway.


#5 : Build your immunity : Expose yourself to life-boosters

Have great conversations, plan a life-experiment, give to charity, read a biography, immerse yourself in a beautiful novel, take long walks, work-out, try new cuisine…..the list of to-dos that serve as life-enhancers is endless.


#6 : Clean up your environment

If its’ people, make it known to them that you have low tolerance for negativity.

If it’s your work-space, make a few changes to liven it up. Reduce clutter. Give away things you don’t need or use anymore, discover the joy of minimalism.


#7 : Avoid contaminating others

Yes, as much as we like to protect ourselves, we often overlook how much toxin we ourselves spit out?

Do you notice how you affect others? Are there things you do that pull people and situations downward?

What you give comes back manifold. Be careful about what you send out!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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