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How Spending a Gap Year Abroad Can Benefit Your Future Success



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Do you ever find yourself wondering why you chose to become an entrepreneur in the first place? Has burnout become your norm? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it’s time for you to reevaluate what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs go confidently and boldly after what they want. They fear nothing and are willing to put in the hard work, no matter what sacrifices they must make.

If you find that you’ve lost your spark or are wondering what stands between you and entrepreneurial success, it may be time for you to take a gap year. Spending a gap year abroad will not just broaden your cultural horizons, but a gap year abroad will give you some food for thought about life and success.

While most people take their gap years after high school and before college, entrepreneurs and people in a career can benefit as well from gap years. They can spend this time to reassess what it is they want to do, as well as the reason why they want to pursue their goals.

Below are 6 ways in which spending a gap year abroad will benefit you:

1. You’ll Have Time to Decide What You Really Want

As you watch others go straight into launching their companies or embark on their new careers, this may not always be the right move for you. Taking a gap year may benefit you more than you think it can.

Spending time soul searching may seem strange and feel like it’s a step back, but the concept behind the idea of a gap year abroad is to give yourself time to learn more about the world and to free your mind of any preconceived notions about life and success. You will gain a different perspective and develop your own conception of life and success.

Relocating yourself to be somewhere different in languages and cultures can help you realize how priorities differ across the globe, and help you to gain a new perspective on what is important for you and your future plan.

2. You Can Explore Your Other Goals

You are more than the one idea you’ve been pursuing as an entrepreneur. While building your company has likely required you to zero in on this particular concept, you likely have other goals that you have been itching to pursue. One of the best gap year benefits is having the chance to explore these other ideas.

Without the day-to-day pressures of entrepreneurship, you can give your time to more things, whether that is expanding your skill set or creating something totally new. Worried taking time off from your company will cause you to lose focus? In fact, the opposite is true.

As you explore more of your interests in this time off, you’ll automatically be drawn towards what it is you truly want to do. Even if the goal of your entrepreneurial pursuit is to launch your own business, you’ll be able to spend the time off exploring every aspect of what that means.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

3. You’ll Grow In Your Independence

Most people choose to take a gap year to spend time becoming more self-sufficient. This is one of the most important aspects of becoming successful as an entrepreneur. Building your own business requires a significant amount of self-motivation, independence, and focus.

More often than not, as entrepreneurs push their businesses towards success, they will be the only person in their corner. For this reason, it is so important to spend time developing your own self-confidence and independence.

Some people may see it as selfish to take time building one’s confidence in themselves, but this is an essential step for any entrepreneur. This of your time abroad is the perfect opportunity to become more self-reliant and focus on shaping your future into what you know it should be. When push comes to shove, you’re really the only one that’s in your corner and working towards this realization is one of the most important gap year benefits.

4. You’ll Be Forced to Use Time Wisely

As you begin your gap year, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of free time you have. However, this time is hardly a vacation. While some people may be tempted to spend their gap year slacking off, entrepreneurs use this opportunity to really dig into what life has to offer. They spend this time really learning as much as possible about themselves, their dreams, and the rest of the world.

The biggest challenge you’ll be faced with during your gap year is having to use your time wisely. You only have 24 hours in each day and each day will bring you one step closer to the day your gap year ends. To ensure every moment counts, you’ll need to find new ways to maximize your productivity.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

5. You’ll See That Taking Risks Leads to Rewards

Certainly, not all risks are worth taking, but as you spend your time in your gap year abroad, you’ll learn that living a “safe” life will only get you so far. There will be certain things you’ve always imagined doing, but never had the opportunity or confidence to pursue until now.

This is your chance to explore everything that you’ve been longing to do for years. Whether you’ve always wanted to climb a certain mountain or visit a particular part of the world, the only thing holding you back is yourself.

Moving past your fears and jumping into these calculated risks will lead you to feel stronger than you’ve felt before. As you continue to fill your gap year with risk-taking, you’ll learn more about problem-solving and the link between risk and reward in life and in business. These are the types of experiences that change you and grow you into the fearless leader you always knew you could be.

6. You’ll Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most powerful weapons for professional success, says Soulaima Gourani, a CEO, corporate advisor and writer of Take Control Over Your Career.

People naturally develop EQ in many social situations throughout the course of their lives. The development of EQ can improve significantly when you combine it with travelling abroad where you get to interact with different people and cultures and see things that are out of ordinary.

You can develop a sense of empathy, adaptive ability and resilience from spending your gap year abroad where things don’t often go as planned at all and can even be downright difficult at times. These skills contribute to a strong sense of EQ and that will help you in your future career or entrepreneurship.

A gap year may be one of the best experiences that happens to you. Whether as an entrepreneur, an office worker or even a new grad, you will likely obtain some new perspectives about life and gain clarity on how and what do you want to do next.

No one is born with elements of success, they must turn themselves into the person they hope to be. Through this transformative process, you can become more grounded in your purpose, passion, and self-confidence.

Have you spent a gap year abroad? Share your experience with us!

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Patrick Watt is an Australian writer, currently based in Chiang Mai. He researches and writes content for businesses and brands from all over the world since 2010. At the present, he writes content for SEE TEFL, one of the most established and respected TEFL training courses in Asia. Besides, he is a contributor to many sites such as The Good Men Project and Tweak Your Biz. His interests also include management, startups, and self and human development.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Leon Patel

    Feb 5, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Fascinating article! I spent my gap year in India, travelling across the country. It was remarkable experience in my life. Now I’m on my 6th and last year of studying at Georgetown.

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships



how to build better relationships
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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions



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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work



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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction



jim carrey
Image Credit: Maarten de Boer

You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)

But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet

Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?

Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:

1. You Have To Take Action

You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.

Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!

This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.

2. Double Down On What You Love

My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.

Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?

3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.

If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time. 

An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!

Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!

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