Spanish writer Jose Ortega y Gasset is attributed the quote:
I am I and my circumstances
I think that it’s more like I am I and my environment. I feel that we disproportionately disregard the role that our environment has in our behavior. In psychology there’s this idea of the Fundamental Attribution Error, which says that when explaining our own behavior we tend to overweight internal factors (our character or intention) and underweight external factors (the environment) but the opposite is true when evaluating the behavior of others.
I think that this applies to our everyday lives and the decisions that we make. What we do, what we eat, what we watch and where we go is heavily influenced by what we’re exposed to. You might not be thinking about eating but if you walk into a supermarket and they’re giving out donuts you might eat one. You were triggered to do that by your environment.
Although I do the environment has a huge influence over our actions, I do think that we have agency over our actions and we can use that power to shape and define our environment. I am trying to consciously think of better ways to shape my environment like giving myself daily reminders to do something, prepping my meals ahead of time to control what I eat, etc.
I think it’s an interesting experiment and I hope to report back on the progress that I make.