We are taught to persist under any circumstances. We all want to change the world and
achieve our goals. However, we cannot neglect the power of our surroundings.
There are plenty of explanations on the impact of your parents, peers, and everything around
you. Here, I’d like to highlight one single point which I believe is the key factor.
Your environment shapes your beliefs (normally).
I have been studying in two different secondary schools in Hong Kong. Both of them are
regarded as good schools with good students. I could truly feel that the time and effort I spent
on lessons and revision in the new school was not any more than that I spent in the old school,
and the teachers and resources were just similar. I was actually totally emerged in the extra
curricular activities instead of study. However, my results in the two open exams (HKCEE and
HKALE) really surprised me when I compared it to my friends in the old school. I had a better
result than them while they were ahead of me in all subjects when I was with them!
I went through this issue many times in my head and hoped to find out an answer. Finally, I just
got to know the difference was that my expectation changed.
They were better than me and of the top 2% of the school. After the years, they were still
the top 2%. I was of around the top 20% in the old school and I was happy and comfortable
about that. I had a really strong belief in myself that “I am not the best nor the worst and I’m
just around better than average”. When I got into the new school, I brought this belief with me
and naturally I came to that position again without any effort. However, I didn’t notice that
the “average” standard just differed in the two schools. My perception of myself didn’t really
change in principle, but changed with the environment.
That’s the first time I deeply experienced the power of belief.
But I did say the environment only shapes our beliefs normally.
I agree that the learning environment, peers and school culture greatly affects students’
perception on themselves and their limits. However, as we all know, there are always some
outstanding students in a lousy family or neighborhood or school!
What makes the difference between these two groups of people? It’s still all about their
By observing people around you, you’d probably admit that some people have some very strong
beliefs that they are just born to have, even though everyone around doesn’t share the same
view! The rest of us keep experiencing conflicts between our original and new beliefs. It’s like
all kinds of fighting, the stronger wins. A successful person knows and believes in their own
values so firmly that they do not set their own expectations depending on external standards.
What can we learn from this?
1. We should be fully aware of the power of our beliefs. It can save or kill.
2. We should shape and strengthen our own beliefs before being exposed to any potential
Let’s discuss about how to shape our beliefs in later posts.