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Leveling up in real life: every move is a new opportunity.

Every location change leads to environment change. Every environment change leads to a changed you.

Dominik Nitsch
3 min read
Leveling up in real life: every move is a new opportunity.
Photo by Kevin Woblick on Unsplash

First impressions matter. It takes us about 100ms to make up our mind about a person. Once we’ve made up our mind, it’s hard to change our initial idea of the other person.

A quote I’ve often heard from my grandmothers is: “you’ve become so big — but to me you’re still that cute 2 year old that used to stay here all summer”. I’m sure you’ve heard the same.

The same is true when your parents remind you to be responsible, to wear a helmet, or try to tell you what’s the right thing to do when looking for a job … Mom, I’m 27, have already founded a company and lived on my own for 9 years. Hey, I can think on my own and (mostly) remember to take out the trash.

Yet in their mind, to some extent we’re still the children that we once were.

In my experience, the perception of identity is static — even though identity itself is fluid.

In the moment we get to know a person, our impression about their identity is formed. From there, the perception may change over time, but the majority of our perception of their identity will remain the same, no matter how much time passes.

Whenever I go back home and immerse myself in my old high school environment, I revert back to that insecure person that I was back then, trying to appear cool to be my peers. Because that’s how they first got to know me. I find it incredibly difficult to escape this behavior pattern — even though I’m a totally different person now.

Think about this: no matter how much you change, other’s perception of you is still largely based on who you were when you first got to know each other.

That’s insane. We evolve so much during our lives — for nothing?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get stuck in high school: by never changing your environment.

Photo by Théo Dorp on Unsplash

Every time I’ve moved cities, I felt like I leveled up. Everyone I met in the new city got to know the Dominik that I was now, not the Dominik I used to be.

Moving allows you to reset your physical and social environment, and thus to start over with a clean slate. You can simply be the person that you are now, instead of being caged in some sort of shell of your former self. It allows you to burst the bubble, to be exposed to new influences, and for people to simply accept you as you are now.

Of course, this process of “leveling up” only works if you really do change your environment. If you move, but still surround yourself with your college or high school friends, the change won’t nearly be as meaningful.

Looking back, I’ve always made the biggest jumps in my personal development when I changed cities: from insecure high schooler to overly confident university student; from overly confident university student to aspiring entrepreneur; from aspiring entrepreneur to actual entrepreneur, manager, and semi-professional athlete.

These changes weren’t abrupt; they were a long time in the making by trusting the process and taking one step at a time.

The change in environment simply was the catalyst to go to the next level.

I don’t want to keep moving forever. At some point, it’s time to settle down. Meaningful friendships are built by spending quality time with each other. It’s hard to do that when you’re constantly on the move.

But even when you’re settled down, you can change your environment. Try changing your job, doing something new that you’ve always wanted to learn, moving on from friends that you’re just friends with for old times’ sake.

But if you have the chance to move, move! If you don’t like it, you can always come back home.

And if you do like it … it’ll be among the best decisions you’ve ever made in your life.

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