What’s Around You Right Now? — Issue #15

Ondřej Bárta
4 min readSep 11, 2022

Your surrounding is a reflection of your future if you decide to change nothing. And you are a reflection of what your surrounding will become if you put more of yourself into it.

This article originally came out as an issue of my personal mailing list. If you enjoy it, consider subscribing.

It’s a Sunday afternoon in Montreal. I’m sitting at a coffee shop, writing this very letter. A glass that held a cold brew a minute ago reflects light at various angles like a kaleidoscope. A comfortable conversation noise coming from neighboring tables coats the room. The walls are snow white, but the occasional plant keeps the space alive. It’s the perfect environment for writing. It makes me question whether I would be able to put my words well into the world if I didn’t have this sort of environment readily available.

This idea has been lingering in my head. When things are not perfect where you’re at right now, do you leave or attempt to fix them? I remember having a conversation with a friend years ago. He was joining a company where he wasn’t very happy. His dissatisfaction came from the fact his team was disorganized. So he was considering leaving right away. So I asked him if it’s not more beneficial to stay and fix things there rather than ditching the team.

Of course, there’s no single correct answer to this question. There’s a limit to what you can influence, even with your direct surrounding. If you’re in an environment you cannot influence at all; it’d be silly to stay and do nothing. But fixing things up internally before ditching them appeals to me. I justify it with the line of thinking that you can learn way more from fixing an old car than you can from buying a new one.

Every single person is going differently in answering this question. And there should be no judgment; as I said before, there’s no correct answer. But there are trends in how certain people go about it. I see many people going from one relationship to another just because of one minor annoyance. Or people are switching jobs every couple of months for a promise of a company that’ll give them more autonomy or money. Ending a relationship is more than justified in many cases. And changing your job is also not a bad thing, especially if you feel a lack of progression (professional, financial, or otherwise).

But sometimes, the progression you need is right there when things aren’t set straight, and you need to straighten them out. If you’re having relationship trouble, you may gain more from trying to fix what’s broken rather than leaving it and finding a new one at first sight of a hardship. If your team is disorganized, maybe they need you to find a new way to organize it better and make it more efficient. Fix the car if you have the tools. You’ll either end up with a fixed car, or you’ll at least probably learn something valuable.

Only when you cannot escape, do you realize you need the skillset to attempt to make things better. And it’s up to you whether you foster these skills or you try to run from them. But if you foster them, these inescapable situations will become easier to handle.

To finally get to my point. People can influence way more than they often realize. They go around chasing better life for themselves; they may forget they can build it with what they have; it doesn’t need to come from someone or something else. They can be the singular force that moves things forward. And, of course, that’s a difficult position, but once you are able to carry that, you can change not only your life for the better but the lives of others. You can inspire someone else to do the same, as I was inspired many times by my friends and family. I think that’s why I’m so keen on taking responsibility and fixing things rather than running away from it.

And whether you agree or disagree with my message, have a wonderful Sunday!

PS: In the end, the entire point of this letter is a bit moot. My point of view surely differs from yours, especially on a topic like this. But I enjoy a semi-public reflection on things that this letter provides me. I hope you can take away something from it as well!

PPS: Still writing from Montreal (and written partially in a rush to get it out). But hopefully, the next letter will be written from Vancouver! So another photo drop might be coming!

PPPS: I recently redesigned my website a bit, and I really like the new look! What do you think?