Happiness is an inside job and other travelog lessons from 2013 by Roz Usheroff
As we move into the fresh promises of a new year, I feel that it is important to reflect upon both the experiences and the lessons that we learned from them in 2013.
For me, the ability to travel has added a dimension to this exercise in that enables me to truly gain a cultural perspective that has broadened my understanding of the world in which I live. Of course you do not have to be a world traveler to gain perspective, you merely have to possess a passion to observe and to look outside of yourself to better understand your unique and important place in the lives of others.
So here are the lessons I have learned this past year, in no particular order of priority;
- Look at other cultures as a privilege to learn that not everyone thinks the way you do.
- Don’t believe you have all the answers or need to summarily defend your position. Asking curious questions when people are disagreeing with you is a chance to see how values influence behavior. Knowing the values of other people helps you to better understand why they stand strong in their beliefs.
- Don’t be misled by appearances. Leaving Bogota airport, I was greeted with police armed with guns. It was not to scare us but rather to protect visitors to make them feel safe. People were just wonderful and hospitable throughout the countryside.
- Don’t let first impressions dissuade you from knowing someone. We form impressions based on our own experiences. I learned that looks can be deceiving when you misinterpret different approaches. We tend to size people up and decide if we want to know them or to do business with them. Not everyone is as demonstrative until we reach out first to show our warmth and interest.
- Don’t get caught up in status related “stuff.” In traveling through Eastern Europe recently, I learned the power of pride. It’s not about fancy cars or designer trappings. In Budapest, I experienced the true meaning of pride as people shared their excitement for buildings being rebuilt, churches and synagogues being reconstructed after destruction from past wars, for freedom to reclaim their culture and for restaurants that shared aromas of native dishes with pride.
- Don’t judge someone by the wages they earn. Wages may be low in some countries but happiness is an inside job. Experiencing just the joy of living and experiencing simple traditions like an espresso, a croissant and conversation at an outdoor cafe are considered the wealth of living.
- Instead of looking at the glass as half full or half empty, we must embrace our power to make success happen when we focus on opportunities and see failures as temporary lessons we had to go through.
- We must have gratitude that we live in North America where we have freedom to speak, travel and network as we like. We must have gratitude to know that tomorrow is another day if today disappoints.
- North America is a melting pot where different cultures bring us richness through the sharing of new experiences. I’ve learned to celebrate how lucky I am to have met so many amazing clients from all over the world and look forward to finding common ground in my present and future relationships.
- Finally, and to quote Linda Ferguson who heads up NLP Canada Training, “Shine. When you shine a flashlight, it is not about making the flashlight feel good. It’s about putting light where light is useful. When you shine, you allow the people around you to see better (and you feel good).”
Wishing you success and significance for 2014