“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever thought about traveling solo but then didn’t follow through with a trip?
If you answered yes, chances are you didn’t follow through because you were afraid it would be dangerous, or you were afraid it wouldn’t be fun without a companion.
Once you take your first trip you realize both assumptions are wrong. Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. The benefits outweigh the risks and the experience strengthens life skills needed for success in all aspects of life.Advertising
Travel, like life, is about looking at situations, taking in the factors, and predicting an outcome. You learn to act based on your assessment. Sometimes, you assess correctly and sail through without a problem. Other times, you may judge wrong. It is in those times that you learn to reassess and solve immediate problems. This empowers skills needed for resilience.
Solo Travel Helps You To Face Fears
The most common fears associated with solo travel are safety and loneliness. Most solo travelers, especially women, report that well-meaning friends and family members scare them with concerns for their safety. The same travelers report once out on the road, they realize those fears were not warranted providing they use common sense and know these tips.
Solo Travel Strengthens Problem-Solving Skills
When you are traveling solo every situation, big or small, can help strengthen problem-solving skills. Missing a connecting flight, or getting lost on a back road with no cell signal can be…well quite scary. Learning how to deal with those types of situations as they happen forces you to focus on solutions instead of dwelling on problems. This improves the ability to assess situations, which in turn strengthens the quality of decisions.
Solo Travel Boosts Your Confidence
Imagine being stranded in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language and all you have is a map and symbols to get around. This is often common for travelers who venture to another country. Something amazing happens when these travelers find their hostel, or they begin to understand bits and pieces of the foreign language.They become more confident in their own abilities. Every time you face a fear, or solve a problem, you build confidence in yourself.
Solo Travel Teaches That Setbacks are a Part of Life
When traveling solo, it is inevitable that you will have setbacks that delay you. You learn to deal with them. Setbacks teach that an obstacle is not the end of a journey, but a road block or detour. The more setbacks you are faced with, the better you are at moving around them without allowing them to derail you. Setbacks are just a part of life and the more experienced you are at handling them the more successful you are in life.
Solo Travel Teaches Flexibility
Solo travel is especially constructive for people who are afraid to be out of control. You only have so much control when traveling alone. You must learn to be flexible. Side trips and unexpected stops can be one of the most rewarding parts of the journey. You can organize and plan a trip down to the minute, but in reality, it will not happen the way you have planned. Flexibility is necessary for solo travel, life and business.
Solo Travel Strengthens Faith
Faith rises from self-confidence, however, life and society suppress both. Solo travel forces you to break out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself, and rely on faith to move through obstacles, fear, and the unfamiliar. Through faith in yourself, and the higher power that guides you, you learn that you are capable of much more than you ever imagined.
Solo Travel Helps You To View Yourself as a Survivor
In solo travel you become strong, self-reliant, confident, smart, and ready to face anything. You become more optimistic, more altruistic, and can more easily understand your purpose in life. Together, all of these strengths empower resilience.
Once you complete a journey you understand there is much more to life than mediocrity. You become stronger and resilient as the result. Lessons learned on the road will follow you throughout life. People who travel learn more about themselves and the world. As a result, solo travel creates resilient leaders with true grit.
If you have traveled solo, I would love to hear your story. In the comment section below, please share how solo travel has made you more resilient and ready to take on the world.
Featured photo credit: By Gulan Ballsay via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 16, 2020
12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now
The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.
However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.
“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous
Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.
1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.
When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.
Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success. As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’
2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).
That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”
Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.
3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.
If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.
For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.
People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.
This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.
4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.
Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.
Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!
Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.
Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
5. Crack a smile.
If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.
Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?
6. Break a sweat—with exercise.
Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.
And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.
7. Groom yourself.
This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.
A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.
8. Dress nicely.
Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.
While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.
9. Do activities you enjoy.
Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.
You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.
10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.
Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.
Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.
Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.
Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.
Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?
Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.
12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!
Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.
The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.
Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com
|||^||Psychology Today: Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization|
|||^||Association of Psychological Science: Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery|
|||^||Science Daily: Want a better work-life balance? Exercise, study finds|
|||^||The New York Times: The Right Stance Can Be Reassuring|