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4 Ways Traveling Around the World Will Make You More Confident

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If it wasn’t for your lack of confidence, you would’ve gotten that job that you wanted, the relationship that you dreamed about, and the investors you needed to grow your business.

Instead of being completely sure of who you are and what you bring to the table, you walk into the room with your head down, palms sweating, and inner thoughts colliding. You wish you didn’t look like a nervous wreck, but you can’t help but be intimidated when it comes to being in a large room full of influential people.

If I would have known that traveling around the world for an extended period of time would silence my doubts and insecurities, I would have done it before I turned 28; but I’m grateful that I had mentors who motivated me to take a six month tour around the world with an international organization called Up with People in order to tap into more of my potential.

If you want to shake off the goose bumps, you have to start making moves–unknown moves. Unfamiliar moves. Uncomfortable moves; this is when you really find out what you are made of. It’s time to say goodbye to your fears and book an extended vacation to a place you have never been before.

Here are four ways traveling around the world will make you more confident:

1. You gain more courage than some people gain in a lifetime

This is confidence in its finest flavor; when you take yourself from everything you have known and consistently venture into foreign territory, you gain the courage to make heart throbbing decisions that you were always too afraid to make in your personal life. If you’ve ever wanted to have the courage to follow an untraditional path as an entrepreneur or take a career-pause from the corporate casino in order to tap into your greatest potential, traveling will give you the courage you need to strip yourself of the things that have kept you in your safe zone.

Traveling around the world is one of those courageous acts that allows you to beat all odds and thoughts that say what you can’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t do. It exposes you to different types of people who’ve pursued different paths and are happy, giving you the courage to not fall into the temptation of doing what everyone else is doing.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

2. Your cultural intelligence is higher than the average human

The more you are exposed to life, the more you learn about the different shades of people who occupy the world. The best way to get to know a culture is to immerse yourself in the culture. Cultural intelligence requires that you unlearn what you think you’re certain about and put yourself in the shoes of someone else. You’ll ask the questions that you really want to know, eat the foods that the people in the community eat, and get involved in the activities that don’t exist in your own country.

While visiting Sweden, I learned about the importance of “FIKA.” It’s a concept in Swedish culture that means “to have coffee” and implies “taking a break from work.” I was excited to tell my friends in the USA about this new idea and how it impacts the work/life in Sweden.

Awareness increases confidence. When you add more cultural experiences to your mental resume, you feel more confident connecting with people from all over the world.

 

3. You worry less about what others think about you  

There will be times that you completely screw up a word or phrase in another language, order a foreign dish that looks nothing like what you expected, or forgot your new address when you decided to go for a three-block walk. Yes–you may look silly or want to melt in embarrassment, but you’ll realize it’s not the end of the world. It’s a great story that you can laugh about later.

When you travel the world, you begin to see the world differently, view yourself in new ways, and understand what really matters in life. You stop trying to constantly fit into an idea of perfection that someone else has created and you start making progress towards what makes your heart full. Traveling allows you to free yourself of all of the insecurities and live a life on your terms.

“Life is too short to worry about anything. You had better enjoy it because the next day promises nothing.” – Eric Davis

4. You gain more clarity about who you really are

The sad truth is that most people have no idea who they are or what they want. They haven’t done the internal work necessary to gain that clarity. They also haven’t stepped outside of everything they know in order to tap into potential that they never knew existed. When you travel the world, you learn more about yourself than you intended to learn.

From experimenting with different cultural activities and learning what really excites your taste buds, you discover more about what you like and find strengths you never really paid attention to. This gives you the power to make decisions that are core to who you really are. Clarity is key to advancing in life and will give you the confidence to make those heart-throbbing decisions that can change your life.

What do you hope to gain from traveling around the world? Share it with us and leave a comment below.

After 7 years of working in Corporate America as a Certified Public Accountant, Charlene left her job in April 2015 and decided to travel around the world with a non-profit international education organization called Up with People. She has traveled around the world with 100 individuals from 20 different countries. You can visit her www.careergoddessacademy.com or connect with her through Twitter.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Shubham

    Sep 22, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I also love to travel but I know only english, is this enough?

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Sep 22, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Hi Shubham,

      You can always start with what you know and figure the rest out as you go. That’s the beauty of life! I am in the same boat as you. English is the only language that I speak fluently. My willingness to experiment with other languages, pronounce words incorrectly multiple times, and ask for guidance allowed me to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The moment when you don’t allow communication mistakes to stop your progress is when you really have the chance to boost your confidence. Great question!

  2. Francisco A. Fierros III

    Sep 21, 2016 at 2:05 am

    I whole-heartedly concur! I am an AMCIT living in China. I help my wife with her business…helping families and children. In my previous career I was able to travel the world…but, could only stay in the host country for a short while. It gave me the taste for adventure. After one year here in China and traveling in East Asia I am so thankful for all these experiences I’ve had and look forward to having many more. It has taught me that each day is a glorious gift and that each day is what you make of it…so why not make it the best it can be!

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Sep 25, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Hi Francisco, Thanks for sharing your experience! Traveling has a way of showing you what’s important in life and challenges you to grow a deeper appreciation for everything – even the “small” moments that seem insignificant. I would love to read about your experience in China! What a great learning experience to be completely immersed in another culture.

  3. Charlene Rhinehart

    Sep 20, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Thanks for reading and sharing!

  4. Eric

    Sep 20, 2016 at 3:55 am

    I love number 2. Your versatility increases exponentially from having that experience. Still, I’m so uncomfortable being in a place where I don’t speak the language! 8 trips to france and I can say “merci”. Maybe that feeling of discomfort is a good thing.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Sep 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Thanks for sharing, Eric! Cultural intelligence is a skill that is needed to thrive in business . It explains why diversity and inclusion is such a hot topic right now.

      It’s completely normal to be uncomfortable in a place where you can’t connect with others because of language barriers. The best advice for learning another language is to stay in a location for an extended period of time. This forces you to add more words to your vocabulary in order to navigate the foreign place. Finding a language buddy also helps. It’s all about practice. If you don’t use it, you quickly lose it.

  5. Glenn Mace

    Sep 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Great read ?

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Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused

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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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Decision and Failure: Deciding That Failure is Not an Option

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Nobody likes wasting time, money or opportunities by making a bad business decision. We can certainly identify what “bad” looks and feels like, however we should be identifying what the “win” looks like too. Too often we focus on the bad, which puts us in victim mode that perpetuates a scarcity mindset which leads us directly into becoming frozen or stuck. (more…)

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