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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

The Power Inside The Bubble

Why did most of the world's renowned artists live in Florence during The Renaissance?

Why does the tiny island of Curacao produce the highest yield of Major League Baseball players of any country in the world?

Why do so many tech startups get off the ground in Silicon Valley?

Sure, these questions are rhetorical in nature, but I'd venture to guess that much of it has to do with the correlation between environment and productivity. When you surround yourself with peers who share a craft, you multiply the number of touchpoints you'll have with that craft throughout a given day. You'll be more driven in your work, whether to compete with the environment or be accepted by it (or both). You'll be exposed to various methods of improving your craft, causing you to continually evaluate your own. Pursuing your craft will be positively reinforced, because in an environment like that, it's what is expected.

I think about how we're starting to see that power of environment via the bubbles that have been created in the sports world as a result of the pandemic. Yes, in almost every instance, you can find alternative explanations for the elevated performances (i.e. NBA players no longer had to travel, track athletes have benefitted from refined shoe technology). But I can't help but think that focusing an athlete's environment has contributed to elevated performances, as most of the external distractions that used to get in the way are no longer safe, or even possible, right now.

Unfortunately, this effect goes both ways. Particularly at lower levels, I feel for the younger athletes who have been unable to play their sports this past year. It's prevented them from pairing up with like-minded individuals. Instead of having a bubble that is helping their game, theirs is preventing it.

For those whose bubble is a hindrance, I hope the landscape changes soon.

For those whose bubble is an enhancement, I can't wait to see the performances that come with it.

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