1. ALWAYS be grateful for EVERYTHING you have. (Cambodia)
After hearing about the tourist traps and witnessing people beg and lie to me to make a living, it seemed like anything goes. Most of the locals were making $50-100USD per month. That's less than $2/day. Yet Cambodians seemed to be the happiest people on Earth, in the simplest living conditions. Limited hot water and electricity in some places made even the worst conditions in Vancouver seem like a fairy tale.
Sinac, my Tuk-Tuk driver for a day, showed so much appreciation and joy from GETTING to work, I was extremely humbled. Could you imagine being that appreciative of where you're at, wherever you're at?
2. Work your ass off and never settle for being mediocre. (Philippines)
While I was enjoying what seemed like luxury because of the currency exchange differences, I also realized the huge opportunity in earning capacity back home. Though life seemed simpler in Manila, it's also a lot harder. With long days and long hours, brutal pollution and working conditions, Canadian employers seemed like guardian angels.
... Yeah, you're right. Maybe that's going too far. But putting my head down and going to work seems like a mighty fine idea.
3. In unknown territory, go explore. (Thailand)
The best feeling in the world wasn't getting lost in Bangkok for 10 hours and absorbing everything the city had to offer. It was unexpectedly finding my way back home after that. Not only did I see tons, but it felt amazing discovering familiarity. There's nothing quite like activating your internal GPS and independence and rushing off on an adventure.
I went through an emotional roller coaster of feeling exhausted, grumpy and judged to feeling confident, exhilarated and at home in the span of the day. I wouldn't trade those tougher emotions for anything else. In facing them, I grew immensely.
Oh, and if I didn't go explore, I probably wouldn't have had the best meal of my life. (LINK)
4. Writing is the best outlet for clarity. (China)
Want the cheapest and most uplifting cure to stress and worry? It's writing.
Because I was traveling by myself for the majority of my trip; I often had a lot of time alone with my thoughts. Personal questions about work, relationships, and life constantly barraged my conscious mind and in effort to maintain my sanity, I would write to clear the air. Sometimes I didn't have any answers, but I would just jot down questions. As the day passed, I would monitor my thoughts and find probable answers. Ranging from mildly retarded to highly genius, I would constantly be throwing poor ideas out and storing the better ones for later use. Creativity soared as I searched for better ways to describe or invent stories. Reading other books was great too, not only to increase knowledge about new topics but also to explore different forms of prose.
5. There's always a party. (Vietnam)
Singing and dancing like no one else is watching is the funnest thing I know to do. Completely disregarding judgement, I found that I could pick my mood up instantly by singing dumb ass songs or bobbing my head on a train. It's cool to be different. Trust me, everyone else on the MRT was jealous I was having more fun than they were.
Self-talk played a huge part in keeping myself company as well, as I entertained and chased laughter in self-amusement. In gloomier moods, I would begin talking out loud to myself and narrating play-by-plays. Nothing better for attitude management.
6. Asking for advice is the quickest route to success. (Singapore)
Everybody has different problems in life. The good news is that my relatives have gone through most of my problems already. It turns out that the dilemmas that I'm currently dealing with seem trivial compared to the stuff they've dealt with. Got relationship problems? Family issues? Strapped for cash? Career in suspense?
It's not that bad.
In one instance, I spent 5 hours listening to how my aunt raised my cousins. I found out what the hardest thing was for her and how she balanced raising kids as a mom with her work as a professional. Without sharing my problems, I just asked her what obstacles and challenges she overcame and then I shut up and listened.
Because she had raised such amazing kids, I knew her advice was solid. Through her perspective, I was better fit to deal with my own life. I find that more people are willing to give advice than to take it. Shoot, give it to me! I'll take it all!
Through this trip, I learnt to follow examples of success in problem areas and ask how to emulate it. It's not often you get to mentor someone younger, and when you do, most people jump at the chance to instill wisdom.
Turning this to you, what lessons have you learnt from traveling?
PS. When traveling, you're never really alone ;)
Have you ever run into one of those people who are constantly complaining about their life? Granted, getting a parking ticket may suck, or getting a lower grade on a paper may not be what you expected, and sometimes we complain about this, but I've noticed a distinct difference between how happy each person based on how they look at their past.
Some look at their past with anger, frustration and regret; they lament why it could have been so much better. Others look at their past with respect, humility, acceptance and appreciation.
However, in both cases, they have the same yearning: to make things better.
The latter individual pursues the future by focusing on the present and positively appreciating the experience of the past. The former harbours negative feelings about the past and a lack of contentment for the present.
You have a simple choice about how to see things, with self amusement or self pity.
Which one will you pick, circumstance-to-circumstance?
Chronic Dissatisfaction - displeasure with how life is
Contentment and growth - an eager desire to make things better combined w/ being at peace with how things are
For the past 8 months, I have been EXTREMELY content with my life because I am goal-oriented and all my actions align with bettering myself as an individual. I rarely complain, and I feel like I start off the day right, every day.
How do I do this?
IT'S SO SIMPLE!!!
Here's how to start your day off right:
I have a daily event in my iCal, with a reminder at 6:00am every morning that pops up on both my iPhone and my iPad.
The title of the event: What are you thankful for?
What I do every morning is edit it and add in 3 new things I'm grateful and thankful for.
The result? Your perspective begins to change.
You see things in a positive light from the start of your day, and as a result, every event that occurs throughout the day seems less overwhelming and WAY less negative, even if it is a negative event. How great is that? It's AWESOME!
Give it a try, trust me.
Little things like this take little time (1 minute to 2, at most)
But at regular intervals, it can change your attitude towards things IMMENSELY =D
If you've ever been in a business class, you've probably heard the term: key success factor, a factor/input that generates a positive result related to your goals/plans.
Today, here is one that applies to success in EVERYTHING: Accepting inconvenience and acting anyways.
When you set new goals, guess what? The actions necessary for you to hit those goals are NEW as well.
When we try to implement new habits, they are not already part of our lives. Actions such as waking up earlier, going for a run, going to class regularly, starting daily reading, starting yoga or improv classes are not part of our routine. The classic example of New Year's resolutions such as becoming healthy by going to the gym is not already part of our lifestyle on a consistent basis. Even venturing to eating regularly may be difficult to keep consistent.
Going to the gym is inconvenient.
Cooking lunch or dinner for the next day is inconvenient.
Commuting to a yoga class is inconvenient.
Waking up early is inconvenient.
The reason people are SUCCESSFUL with their goals is because they continue on DESPITE the inconvenience of it all. Inconvenience is going to come with every new thing you throw yourself into, until it becomes regulated and incorporated over a length of time (21-40 days normally). Accept inconvenience and act anyways.
Don't gripe about it, just do it. Food for thought. ;)
Self-confidence is a good thing to have...right?
Perhaps. After all, we both respect and look up to those who have a strong sense of who they are, because not many people do.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention that there is a significant difference between two types of self-confidence/assurance: self-esteem and self-ego.
Consider these two individuals: Bill and Josh.
Bill and Josh are both charismatic, easy-going, and secure about themselves. In social settings, they can hold conversation and make friends easily. Both have a multitude of life experiences that they regularly draw upon and can relate to others with, including traveling, relationships, work and school. For people discussing their first impression of Bill or Josh afterwards, they would always mention that both were really cool, chill guys who seemed sure of themselves. Description words used to describe the two guys would include charismatic, outstanding, memorable, and positive. While not necessarily always the center of attention in a group, Bill and Josh are able to hold their weight, contributing when they want to, uninhibited of social pressure.
Bill was raised in an upper-middle class family, and has never worried about food, housing, or paying the bills. He is on the executive board of a student organization and holds a spot on the Dean's List. He keeps healthy by exercising often and maintaining a balanced diet. His lifestyle is one of comfort, but not of excess. He travels regularly on holidays with his family, goes shopping whenever he feels like it, and always snags a daily Starbucks to help him stay awake in class. He works hard, having finished a co-op internship from a family friend overseas, and although his parents pay for his rooming and tuition, he pays for the rest of his expenses by himself.
Josh is exactly the same.
The only difference is how the two guys see themselves and the world.
Bill's self-confidence and level of comfort comes from what he has accomplished (Dean's List, travel, family ties) and what he has (money, car, exec role) in constant comparison of himself to others. He feels a sense of entitlement because he has worked hard to get where he is, and is unapologetic for his levels of success. He views himself as an outstanding individual, considering that this is what he has been told the past few years from others.
Josh, on the other hand, has a self-confidence that stems from himself, what he values and what his personality traits are. His self-worth is intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic; he does not feel better or worse about himself when looking at others. He views the world and humanity with an openness. He embraces change and is indifferent to social conditioning. He knows who he is and his actions do not change in different social environments/settings.
Are you more like Bill or Josh? Are you defining your identity in comparison with other people? I posit that it is far better to work towards having a sense of self-esteem that is stronger than a sense of your self-ego. Don't mistake me, I am not saying to not develop your self-ego, but instead to watch out for how prominent it becomes in your attitude towards society. A overinflated self-ego can cause arrogance, entitlement, and bitterness toward society.
Self-esteem: having a strong sense of identity, based on what you value, who you are, regardless of social conditioning and materialistic ownership.
Self-ego: having a strong sense of identity, based on who you are/what you have (status, power, money, cars, materialistic, friends)/what you've accomplished (winning, results/past performance).
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.