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8 Ways to Discover Yourself Without Traveling the World

8 Ways to Discover Yourself Without Traveling the World

Americans are funny. We tend to look at world history as something that happened before we came along and conquered the globe. Anyone who’s ever traveled the world knows it’s a great way to expand your horizons to new cultures and discover yourself.

Unfortunately not everyone can afford world travel or fit it into their busy schedule. Rather than try to convince you otherwise, here are alternative ways to discover yourself from the comfort of home.

1. Isolate Yourself

    The closest E! ever gets to religious programming…

    If you’ve never left your hometown, there’s a good chance you still have the same friends you grew up with. While it’s nice to have long-term friendships, you can’t truly discover yourself while staying around the same people. It becomes a crutch that keeps you from learning how to truly socialize. You never leave your comfort zone.

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    Take time to yourself and learn what truly makes you happy. Many of the things you do and buy may just be because your social circle is, not because it’s what you want. Giving yourself space gives you the opportunity to grow to your full potential.

    2. Create a Vision Board and Bucket List

      What do we always say is the most important thing?

      Thanks to The Secret and The Bucket List, vision boards and bucket lists have become buzz words. There’s a reason they’re so popular – the best way to visualize your future is to create something tangible. Make a list of what you want to accomplish before you die, and construct a collage to supplement it.

      Just the act of producing these items gives you insight into what’s really important to you. The hard part is following the path you laid out, but that’s what makes life fun.

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      3. Volunteer Your Time

        Testify, Ashton Kutcher…

        Arianna Huffington has been making the rounds lately promoting her new book Thrive. In it, she explains the third metric to success (the first two are money and power). One of the easiest ways to discover this third metric is by giving to others.

        Volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, shelter, clinic, church, or other charitable organization opens your eyes to reality. Your problems may seem insurmountable, but someone always has it worse. Giving to others reminds you of how much you truly have and inspires gratitude.

        4. Reconnect with Nature

          We’ve all been there…

          I was lucky enough to have grown up in the military. My dad was stationed in Europe, and I spent my childhood travelling the continent. We were poor, but my parents made travelling possible by camping out in nature. There’s no better way to refresh your body, mind, and spirit than getting away from society and immersing yourself in nature.

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          5. Talk to the Elderly

            Make it rain, grandpa…

            It’s far too common to see people shove their parents into a retirement home where they don’t have to deal with the ravages of age. We’re conditioned to leave the elderly alone, but they have valuable lessons to teach.

            Think of how many people you’ve met and lessons you’ve learned in life – the elderly have experienced that much more. They can give you an honest critique of who you are.

            6. Immerse Yourself in Different Cultures

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              Every city has neighborhoods where people of similar cultures live together. You don’t have to drive very far to find a Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. Visit these places to get a sample of the real deal. Talking to residents of these communities is a great way to learn the differences between your culture and thiers, and it may inspire you to explore.

              7. Meditate

                Silly pup, that’s not upward dog…

                Meditation is the definition of selfishness. In order to discover yourself, you need to look inward. Lie down on the floor, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. If you do this for at least 15 minutes every day, all the unimportant noise in your life fades away. Once you’ve stripped it all away, you’ll discover your true self.

                Featured photo credit: jingoba via pixabay.com

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                The Gentle Art of Saying No

                The Gentle Art of Saying No

                No!

                It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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