To understand your own world better, venture into another.

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In my life to date, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend time in different countries. And in those countries spend time with people who were kind enough to help me experience their culture. And what I’ve discovered while doing this is that no matter where you are or where you go, no matter how much you travel or have experienced or seen – unless you look at your world and your experience with an outsiders perspective from time to time, you’re still caught in your own.

Apart from otherwise speeding up your personal development and growth, the ability to understand your world and where it’s at compared to other peoples world is a core competence needed in order to keep your business innovative and a step ahead of the competition. So this “trap” that many of us fall into is actually a bigger problem than most of us care to concede.

To avoid falling into this trap myself, the first principle I found to work well is taken from an aspect of anthropology – “To understand your own world better, venture into another.”

Examples of what I’d consider venturing into a different world of your own are (in no particular order and with some options for personal/business level):

  • if you know the world only on the level of earth, go diving and learn about the oceanic world or go skydiving to get a birds eye view of things (in future, if the opportunity presents itself – consider space travel)
  • if you’re a person that enjoys good food and likes to eat but does not know how to cook, go and be part of a cooking class
  • if you’re a very serious, scientific, intellectual, business minded person but find it difficult to relax or believe in something higher (whatever that is), go and take a meditation class if you’re good at controlling yourself well, are a bit up tight with your emotions or are very disciplined, go and take dancing classes, Salsa, Samba,…
  • it’s always advisable to do something creative, take music or art lessons but go about it in a practical way, i.e. don’t learn about the history at first. Play the music yourself or paint yourself, add the theory later and focus on the (less intellectual) creative force at firstvisit those countries that in your mind you’re the least interested in. Then if you’re open, you will find value in those things which previously you’d thought made no sense in your world 
  • do something that – business wise – you would normally never do. A lawyer or accountant could look at their client list and every year volunteer for some of the charitable foundations that are their clients. 
  • make the most important thing of your daily life (money, power), for a specific period of time, the least important thing. There are more people out there living this kind of life than you might think. If you understand their world, it will benefit yours. 
  • if you’re a spiritual person without any monetary aspirations, go and work in a bank – try to get to the position where you have to decide on the approval or rejection of loans.

There are many examples like this, try to find yours and venture into a new world from time to time. Try to reflect upon the new world from outside your own.

This ability to look as neutrally as possible at your own world from without, is a unique tool in ensuring development, competitiveness, innovation and presence in both your business and your personal life.

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