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8 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Traveling

8 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Traveling

I grew up in small town America, so I had never traveled outside the country until recently. I took an amazing trip to Costa Rica a few years ago to meet up with my college-aged daughter, who was finishing up a foreign study program.

Here’s a look at some of the lessons I came home with, after my initiation into the hectic world of traveling, as I wandered around in a foreign country for 10 days of sightseeing with my daughter. I admit that my experience was somewhat idealistic because I went to an American friendly country.

If you are planning a trip, be prepared for a new and exciting, yet unpredictable experience.

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Here are 8 valuable lessons I learned from traveling:

1. Expect the unexpected

The first and most important thing I learned from my experience was to expect the unexpected. You never know what is going to happen when you are traveling. When you are an inexperienced traveler, you are immediately thrown into a situation where you do not always know what to do. It’s easy to become anxious when you don’t know what is coming up next, but I learned to just be patient and let things unfold. For instance, you can be sure that things will never go as you planned them. Flights will be delayed, some of your luggage might get confiscated, or you might not know where your next meal is coming from. Be prepared financially for unexpected things, because you will probably spend more money than you planned on.

2. Relax and Have Fun

Experienced travelers learn very quickly to adapt to new situations and new environments. It may be easy to forget that you are there to relax and enjoy yourself.  Relaxation is one of the top benefits of travel.  Be sure to make time each day to just sit, take in the view and unwind from all your sightseeing activities. It can be exciting exploring new places and taking it all in.  I also recommend talking to as many people as you can, because you are thrown together with them (usually in the close quarters of a plane, train or bus). Just enjoy wherever you are, and take things in as they happen. Be open to meeting new people and having new experiences wherever you go. You will learn unexpected things that way. So, you might as well relax wherever you are, and have a good time, especially when things do not go as planned, like if you become stranded at a large airport for hours on end with nothing to do but wait.

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3. Learn to be spontaneous

Being spontaneous is an art that must be acquired. Not everyone can do it, so traveling is a good way to learn the skill. You will find yourself in new and changing situations with no predictable outcome. You will see things in other countries that you do not expect. Some things you will enjoy and others will make you uncomfortable. That is because you are thrown outside of your normal routine, so you are naturally out of your comfort zone, and completely away from all the people (or most) of the people you know and talk to everyday. When circumstances force you to change your plans, the best thing is just to go with the flow and do whatever seems logical. I guarantee that most days will be different than anything you can image ahead of time.

4. Enjoy new people

Being in new countries and around strangers all the time can be stressful and it will make you feel like you are on another planet. It can make you uncomfortable because you don’t know anyone. And, there might be barriers to communication, like when everyone around you speaks another language, that you do not know.

Here is where you must simply trust in people. Have faith that most people you meet will be pleasant to deal with. If you are in a country where Americans are treated well, you should be ok going anywhere. Your attitude is the most important thing when you meet new people. You may not be able to understand them, but there are ways to communicate that don’t require words. You will gain the most if you just show them respect as human beings. Learn how to enjoy being around new people and don’t be afraid to talk to them.

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    5. Live in the moment

    Most people are used to doing the same routine in their lives, day in and day out. We get used to our jobs, our friends, and our usual places that we go for fun. Traveling takes you away from all that. It throws you up on a beach like a fish out of water. But, this is a good thing. Why? Because it makes you feel more alive. You learn to trust your instincts in a new situation and allow yourself to just appreciate each moment for what it is. You take a deep breath by the sea, you walk barefoot on the beach, you see things you have never seen before and it wakes you up, as if the rest of your life was a dream. When you learn to be in the moment of right now, you are more aware of everything going on around you. You are more observant. You see and experience the newness of each day.

    6. Respect other cultures

    When you travel outside of your world and go to another country, you will notice right away the cultural differences. People might dress differently. They may do everyday things that you don’t expect. They might communicate in a language you don’t know and their lives may appear to be so unfamiliar to you. Here you learn to respect who people are. You see them and acknowledge that they live in a world apart from you, and you learn to be non-judgemental about them. You see them and it changes you on the inside. It makes you think about the world on a bigger scale. It makes you more aware of some of the ways that other people struggle in their lives.

    7. There is beauty in everything

    Traveling is fun. You see beauty in the most unexpected places. You never know what you will see next. This is exciting, and it changes you, making you more observant of everything going on around you. Here is where you gain so many valuable memories. You want to enjoy your trip, so you naturally do all you can do to make it a good experience. You take photographs of all the things you want to remember. It becomes almost an obsession to capture as much as you can about the places you visit. This is one of the most enjoyable things about traveling. You may even find that the way food is prepared and presented can be beautiful as well.

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      8. Appreciate the life you have

      One of the biggest lessons I learned from traveling is simply to appreciate the simple things about the life I have. I appreciate all the things I used to take for granted before I traveled. I know now how fortunate I am.

      I appreciate my loved ones more than ever. I appreciate modern conveniences, like driving a nice car, living in a comfortable house, having a cold drink, and a warm bed. I appreciate being able to buy anything I want and get any type of food I want at just about any time of day. I appreciate all the laws of my country and all the public officials that make them. And I appreciate the cleanliness of my city and most public places that I go to every day. I have a great life just where I’m at, and I appreciate everything about it because I went away.

      Coming home

      One of the best things about traveling is returning home to your life again. You come home to the people who love you and count on you. But you are richer because of the great memories you made. You have learned a few things. You have seen new places and you know how to expect the unexpected, relax and have fun, to be spontaneous, enjoy new people, and live in the moment. You can respect other cultures, see beauty in everything and appreciate more fully the life that you have.

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      Karen Bresnahan

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      Last Updated on October 14, 2020

      How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

      How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

      When you learn how to be confident, you can use it in your everyday life to tackle all of your goals and challenges. However, not many people realize that learning how to gain self-confidence is like building a muscle—it grows in response to the level of performance required of it.

      Here I will give you 51 proven ways to overcome a lack of self-confidence and achieve more.

      1. Learn Something New

      Sign up for that evening class and enjoy it. Alternatively, read a book (or take an online course) on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

      Learning new things stretches your abilities, keeps your mind active, and most definitely improves your confidence in your ability to do new things.

      2. Ask Your Partner or a Friend What You Can Do For Them

      This can be something as easy as helping them with a chore they don’t like or have little time for. Through helping them, you’ll find that you feel better about yourself.

      3. Hit the Gym

      The physiological effects of going to the gym will leave you feeling great.

      Countless studies have shown that regular workouts at the gym can boost not only your sense of well-being, but can increase your self-esteem, too[1].

      4. Go to a Networking Event

      Rather than being nervous about your own stuff, focus on how to help others. Instead of going along with the aim of trying to sell yourself to others, why not change your approach and simply go along to see how you can help the people you meet?

      By doing this, you’ll come across as calm, confident, and someone that people will want to turn to again and again.

      5. Get Clear on the Things That Matter to You

      If these things are not in your life, you’ll need to bring them in.

      For example, if your daily work routine is currently as dull as dishwater—but you’d like it to be fun—then do something about it. Turn data entry into personal speed contests, paper filing into “screen-free” time, and interactions with your colleagues into enjoyable conversations.

      6. Remove Negativity From Your Life

      Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize, or diminish each one.

      I personally like to do this with pen and paper as it feels just a little more real and definite than on screen. It’s also a good idea to put the priority items at the top of your list, so you can begin resolving these first.

      7. Celebrate Your Big and Small Wins

      Look at the big or small goals you’ve completed, and give yourself credit for your part in it.

      Recognizing your achievements is not egotistical, it’s healthy.

      8. Converse With New People

      Go and have a conversation with someone you don’t know. By doing this, you may be pleasantly surprised by what—or who—you’ll discover.

      You can also extend this trait by breaking outside of your normal social situations at your workplace. This will do wonders when learning how to be confident.

      9. Do Something You Would Normally Say No to

      Next time you talk yourself out of doing something (a party invite, a challenging project, etc.), go and do it anyway. This is a great way to boost personal development.

      10. Do One Thing Each Day That Makes You Smile

      This could be something as simple as sending a thank you email to a colleague that has been helpful to you, or leaving a surprise present for your partner that they’ll discover when they wake up.

      Life shouldn’t be drudgery, and we all need to make the effort to keep it light, loving, and fun.

      11. Give Yourself Good Advice

      Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or overthinking.

      Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back—what would you want to say to them?

      This is known as Soloman’s Paradox—we’re often quite good at solving others’ problems but not our own. Challenge this and take your own good advice next time[2].

      12. Ask Someone on a Date

      If you’re single and have met someone that you’re definitely attracted to—go ahead and ask them out.

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      Even if they turn you down, it will help you learn how to be confident through the fact that you were decisive and made an effort. What’s the best thing that could happen? They might just say yes!

      13. Write Down 20 Things That Make You Feel Good

      Think of this as a gratitude list. Typical things you might include are: your partner, your kids, your parents, your pets, etc.

      I recommend writing this list at least once a month. And most importantly—make sure you’re giving the 20 things plenty of room in your life.

      14. Stop Playing Different Roles

      Stop playing different roles and squeezing yourself into boxes based on what you think people expect of you.

      Be your authentic self, the one who knows what to do and loves what they do. It’s easy to find this part of yourself as it’s inherent in your hobbies and your close friendships.

      If you can bring this authenticity into your work life, you’ll be surprised at how positively others will react to you.

      15. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

      Learn to catch yourself every time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get, or aren’t good enough to get what you want[3].

      Talk yourself up when learning how to be confident.

        Instead, tell yourself that you can have, will get, and are good enough to get what you want. Mindset is everything. Make sure yours is positive and dynamic.

        16. Take Yourself off Auto-Pilot

        Make deliberate decisions on what really matters to you.

        For instance, if you normally work 9 to 5 but find yourself spending hours getting to and from work, why not negotiate with your boss to mix your hours up a bit?

        You might also suggest a day or two working from home. Sell this to your boss by reminding them that the time and stress lost to commuting can be neatly transferred to productive work hours.

        17. Listen Carefully to What You Tell Yourself

        Next time you come up against a risk or a challenge, listen to what you tell yourself, and look for a way to improve your inner dialogue.

        If you normally find that your inner dialogue is negative, then break out of this by asking yourself questions such as:

        • What would make this easier?
        • Is there a different way of doing this?
        • Could research help?

        18. Laugh at Yourself

        Scared of looking silly? It’s no biggie, so don’t let it stop you.

        Whenever we try something new, there’s a fair chance that we’ll make fools of ourselves. But you’d be a bigger fool to let that stop you. Instead, laugh at your baby steps and watch your confidence soar as you begin to master your chosen activity.

        19. Listen to Your Doubts

        Sometimes your doubts are there to let you know what you need to prepare for, so you can use them to your benefit as you move forwards. Other times, they are just doubts.

        The trick is to quickly determine if your doubts have validity. If they do, use them to shape your decisions.

        To illustrate this, imagine that you’ve had an enticing job offer, but you doubt whether you’re capable of doing the job. Spend a little time analyzing your doubts to see whether they reflect reality, or whether they are just negative thoughts that are trying to hold you back.

        20. Recall a Time When You Did a Great Job

        Think of a time when it felt like a whole bank of switches in your head flicked to the on position, and you were firing on all cylinders. What were you doing, and what’s the reason it felt so great? Can you emulate that passion and drive that you had?

        21. Tear up Your Rule Book

        You may not know it, but you’ve almost certainly got a whole bunch of outdated rules that determine what you do and don’t do. These rules limit your thinking and your behavior.

        It’s time to change them. Tear up this subconscious rule book and toss it in the fire. Once you’ve done this, you’ll immediately notice how free you feel to make challenging and exciting decisions.

        22. Ask Yourself What You Have Gained When You Lose

        Do you get annoyed with yourself because you didn’t make the most of something or stepped back from an opportunity?

        Firstly, don’t beat yourself up because that’s just going to make you feel worse. Instead, be brutally honest and ask yourself what you gained from the situation and what you lost out on.

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        Based on this win/lose balance, what’s a different choice you can make next time?

        23. Don’t Let People Put You Down

        If there’s someone in your life who puts you down or makes you feel small, you owe it to yourself to let them know that you expect something different from now on. 

        Trust me, once you’ve told them, they’ll change, and you will, too. Inevitably, you’ll boost both your confidence and happiness by taking control of your life in this way.

        Learn how to get out of toxic relationships in this article.

        24. Reveal a Little Bit of the Real You

        Relationships can be difficult. They can also lose their zest and become stale. If this happens in your relationship, then it’s time to add some magic to the mix.

        Try revealing something interesting about yourself or your past that your partner doesn’t currently know when learning how to be confident. Perhaps you never mentioned to them that you used to play in a rock band—and you still have the recordings to prove it!

        By adding new things to your relationship, you’ll deepen the bond and keep the spark alive.

        25. Be Your Own Hero

        Recognize that you’re more than a match for any situation you might find yourself in—no matter how tough the going gets.

        We all love movies like Die Hard where ordinary people are driven to super-ordinary feats. But here’s the rub: you can be your own action hero.

        Whatever the situation, meet it head on and overcome it. Keep in mind the classic phrase: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

        26. Don’t Give in to the Instant Pay-off

        If I was to offer you $100 now for a day’s work tomorrow or $110 for the same work, but I won’t pay you for a week, which would you choose? Well, I can’t read your mind, but I do know that studies using a similar question to this have found that most people choose the instant, smaller payment over the latter, bigger payment. It seems that we’re hardwired for instant gratification.

        However, if you want to be a success in life, always look at the bigger picture. In the example above, if you could have only waited seven more days, you would have been $10 richer!

        27. Instead of Yelling “I Deserve Better,” Say “I Can Be Better”

        Too often I hear people complaining about their personal circumstances but refusing to do anything about it. Don’t be like them.

        If things aren’t going your way, find solutions and implement them. Your boldness and decisiveness will boost your confidence and help you rapidly climb the ladder of success.

        28. Admit You’re Wrong

        It may not be easy, but you should always be prepared to hold your hands up and change your mind if things are going south. Not every idea you have will be a winning one. The trick is to know when things are clearly not working out.

        You can either attempt to get them back on track or kill them off completely (sometimes that’s the best way).

        29. Trust Your Instincts

        We all have our gut feelings and intuitions, but many people choose to ignore them and rely only on facts, facts, and more facts! While this may work for many scenarios, there will be other times when you’ll need to rely on your instincts.

        30. Imagine Your Confident Future Self

        Imagine you’re visited by a successful, confident, attractive, and vibrant version of you from the future, a version of you who’s everything you hope to be. What do they want to tell you?

        They might praise your efforts, but they may also criticize your lack of planning and weak goals.

        Luckily, if you listen closely to what they tell you, you’ll be able to rapidly shift gears in your life and become the you of the future!

        31. Ask for Help

        This is a common issue. We take on way too many responsibilities and end up either burning ourselves out or just doing a bad job!

        The secret is to put the vast majority of your energy and efforts into what you do well. Give the stuff you don’t do well to others who have a gift for it. Sometimes the most confident and effective thing to do is ask for help.

        32. Be Around People Who Make You Feel Like You

        Do this by spending more time with the people who support and encourage you and less time with those who undermine you.

        At work, don’t be ruined by negative, petty people. Instead, make sure you surround yourself with colleagues who make you laugh and feel good about yourself.

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        33. Participate in the World Around You

        Ask yourself this question: “What can I participate in that’s important to me?”

        Typically, this could be your church, a sports club, or even just a weekly get together with your best friend.

        34. Develop Skills to Work on Things That Matter to You

        What can you practice that would radically improve your chances of winning?

        If you want to climb the corporate ladder, for example, then develop the skills needed to do this. These might include: effective project management skills, powerful presentation abilities, and superb goal setting skills.

        Of course, don’t forget that emulating those who have already achieved your goal is one of the quickest and most reliable ways for you to achieve your aims, too.

        35. Act Until You Make It

        The body is a mirror for the mind, so shifting your body language into a confident state can have surprising results.

        This is all about acting. If you want to come across as tough, act tough. If you want to come across as successful, act successful. And if you want to come across as confident, act confident.

        Try doing these things, and you’ll be amazed by the results.

        36. Push Through When You Want to Give up

        Don’t get disheartened or demotivated when you get to 90% with something you’re working on. Push through, and you’ll see that the last 10% is where the magic happens.

        37. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

        Keep comparing yourself to others? Stop it. If you want to learn how to be confident, don’t try to validate yourself through comparison—you’re just peachy as you are.

        Social media often makes this difficult. Try stepping away from your Facebook page for a few days and reconnect with the great things in your own life.

        You can get started with this guide.

        38. Speak up When You Can Make a Difference

        Speak up if there’s something you think could be improved or if you have an idea you think has legs.

        Have you noticed that quiet people at work rarely get the promotions? It’s not that they are incapable or lacking talent, but their abilities are usually overlooked as they don’t know how to engage with others or how to sell themselves.

        Step out of your comfort zone and be sure that you’re an active player. Speak up in meetings by suggesting ideas and offering constructive criticism.

        39. Stop Struggling and Start Accepting

        If there’s something you’ve been struggling to understand for a while, stop trying to understand it. Accept it just as it is, fully and wholly.

        Life offers endless mysteries. If you try to resolve them all you’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, let some mysteries remain, and keep your mind focused on your goals and dreams.

        40. It’s Okay to Be Shy

        There’s nothing wrong with being shy, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a confident person.

        If you suffer from shyness, you might think it’s a major weakness of yours. However, introverted people have the edge in many ways, such as: they’re first-rate listeners, they have excellent observational skills, and they’re easier to trust[4].

        41. Clean up Your Environment

        Your environment directly impacts your self-perception. So, if you’re surrounded by clutter, paperwork, and rubbish, put a morning aside to clean up your stuff and get organized.

        42. Write a List of Things You Would Love to Do

        Write yourself a list of the amazing things you’d love to do in your life, and make a start by simply looking into the first one or two things that leap out at you. This will help you get started as you learn how to be confident

        Even if you don’t currently have the means to live your dreams, you can, at the very least, make a start. The best way to do this is to write out the things you’d love to do. These may include cool stuff, such as travelling the world, learning a new language, or climbing a mountain.

        Once you’ve added the items to your list, don’t stop there. Begin researching and preparing ways to turn your dreams into realities.

        43. Make Your Self-Worth Independent From Others’ Validation

        Don’t make your happiness or self-worth dependent on being in a relationship or being validated by someone else.

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        While it’s difficult to admit it, we often find ourselves rating our self-esteem by the value other people put on us.

        For instance, you may have a super-positive boss who is always encouraging and supportive. They make you feel upbeat and confident at all times.

        However, imagine if they left and your new boss was the complete opposite. They constantly look for faults in your work and regularly criticize you. Would you still feel confident in those circumstances?

        If you’ve answered no, then you need to reappraise your self-worth, as it shouldn’t be dependent on the validation of others.

        44. Use Your Strengths

        We all have our weaknesses, but they only undermine your confidence if you let them.

        For instance, are you aware that Virgin’s founder Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia? He never let this hold him back or destroy his confidence. Today, he is one of the world’s most successful men, with a net worth of approximately $5 billion[5].

        45. Complete a To-Do List

        The longer you leave that big thing on your to-do list, the more it’ll drain you, and the bigger it’ll seem. Get it done and free yourself up.

        If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of trying to write a whole chapter of your book in one go, how about just writing the opening paragraph?

        46. Treat Your Body Well

        When learning how to be confident, our body image does matter, because if you have a bad relationship with your body, you won’t feel confident in yourself.

        What’s one of the first things most of us do when we get up in the morning? We look in the mirror. If we don’t like what we see there, then our day starts off with negative self-talk. If, on the other hand, we look in the mirror and feel proud of our appearance, then we start the day off in an upbeat, positive way.

        If you’re unhappy with your body and looks, do something to improve them. Exercise, diet, and styling are common ways of improving your body image—and your confidence.

        47. Learn to Say No

        Don’t say yes to taking on a task simply because you don’t want to rock the boat. You can politely decline requests you can’t meet without needing to create excuses.

        While saying yes to everything that comes your way might feel like you’re being helpful and in demand, in the long run, you’ll burn yourself out.

        48. Learn From Confident People

        Look at the people you respect who seem confident. Don’t copy them, but identify what it is they do differently that conveys confidence and what you can learn from it.

        People-watching is not only fun, but it can be informative, too. Look closely at successful people you know, or those being interviewed on TV, and over time you’ll begin to notice common traits, beliefs, and behaviors that they exhibit.

        49. Follow Through on Your Plans

        Most people find it easy to write plans. The hard part, of course, is seeing them through. To stand out from the crowd, make sure that you know exactly how to complete your plans.

        If you need to, write down a step-by-step guide and begin following it. Not only will this drive you towards the completion of your plans—but experiencing the progress will also give you a continuous boost to your self-esteem.

        50. Shift Your Focus When You Doubt Yourself

        When you feel yourself focusing inwards and becoming paralyzed with doubt or fear, switch to focusing outwards at what you can engage and interact with.

        I remember one of my writing tutors telling me that when the words stop flowing, it’s time to take a break— preferably a walk in the park. It’s sound advice as it’s very easy to get caught up with our thoughts and emotions and be unable to make progress.

        51. Never Beat Yourself up for Failing

        Life is guaranteed to not always be a barrel of laughs. Instead, it’s much more like a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs, so ride them out.

        The art of living is to know how to handle whatever comes you way. The best way to achieve this is by developing an iron core that is unhindered by the topsy-turvy outside world.

        Final Thoughts

        Here I’ve given you 51 different ways to start building self-confidence Take action on the ways that you’re drawn to.

        It’s not enough to read about them. For them to work, you must adopt them into your daily life. Do this, and you’ll start to feel your confidence soar.

        More on How to Be Confident

        Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

        Reference

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