A few years ago, we were on a trip to the Philippines and a friend of mine invited me to visit a homeless community.
This area, called Escopa, is a suburb of Manila that takes homeless living to another level. The people lived under this massive highway bridge in small make-shift shacks where they pirated electricity from the street lights and caught rain water in large oil drums and there were lots of kids running around.
They set up a sidewalk shop where you could buy or trade for a beer, a cigarette, or even a teaspoon of peanut butter and a slice of bread.
Visiting the community had a major impact on me and I couldn’t help but think that some of these people, especially the children, would grow up not knowing a different way of life.
It made me think about how much more opportunities I have been given, just by way of the family and circumstances I was born into. And the fact that none of us get to choose to whom and where we are born.
If you think about it, these people of Escopa have just as much potential as any one of us. You could be born into a homeless community or into royalty; our conditions and circumstances do not define or dictate our potential.
Looking back at this experience has helped me to realize that just like the people of Escopa, all of us, really are products of our environment.
Our minds have been programmed according to the information that’s been fed into it. This programming leads to the actions that we take and our actions create the results we experience in our lives.
If the people of Escopa or anyone of us wants to change our results, we must first change our programming. Success really is an inside job and personal development is the key component for reaching your potential.
Zig Ziglar stated it well when he said, “You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and you can change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”
This is just as true for the people of Escopa as it is for you and me.