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Why Moving Abroad is the Best Work Hack Ever

Why Moving Abroad is the Best Work Hack Ever

It seems crazy, doesn’t it? You pack up and leave the bulls eye of business in America for the sole purpose of growing your company in the Latin tropics. Who does that? Why leave the glistening sidewalks of Wall Street for steamy rain forest mountain trails? It sounds like insanity, but then again, most brilliance starts out that way.

More entrepreneurs are embracing exactly this strategy. Why? Because they found a new culture was just the catalyst to create the right conditions to launch their best work and mental creativity.

Do You Want to Live Like a Millionaire?

Why do you think millionaires are so successful? Of course there are many factors, but once people reach a certain status, they stop doing more basic, time-wasting activities and pay others to fulfill this necessity.  They stop engaging in household cleaning, cooking, gardening, and driving. They leverage their brain power on their business instead of scrubbing the toilet.  Most people in America don’t think twice about the time that they spend on driving and domestic duties, but when you add up all that time, it can take up a huge portion of your life. Just imagine if you could turn that time into business equity?

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In other countries, domestic help isn’t just for the upper class; it’s common among the middle class. In the Latin tropics, no one thinks twice about hiring cooks, maids, gardeners, or drivers. This is a large part of the local economy. Think of all the extra time this would free up to work on a business venture!  In Central America, you can hire someone to cook, get your groceries, run your errands, and clean for you for about $300 per month. If you really wanted to go crazy, you could hire a driver for another $300 per month to drive you to your appointments so you could focus on work from the car.

With these mentally and physically-draining jobs eliminated from your life, imagine what you could accomplish if you could focus on your business 100% of the time! For example, if you move to Belize, you can have full-time domestic help take over all the household duties for $350 per month on average. While the cost of living in Belize can vary depending on your lifestyle choices, you can live comfortably for much less than living in the US in most cases, including the cost of full-time help. You can hire a live-in maid in Panama for about the same monthly cost as Belize, including the expenses of providing room and board. If you want to simply pay them by the day, it comes out to about $3 to $5 per hour.

You can also hire the same level of domestic help in Costa Rica for about $15 per day. Guatemala can help you stay under budget while still paying a maid to handle the cooking and cleaning for around $150 per month.

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Or, consider Nicaragua, where the cost of a maid or gardener runs about $130 per month for a six-day work week. Ecuador has a low cost of living, and is a beautiful country where you can enjoy fresh fruits and full-time domestic service for about $200 per month. So, when you move to the Latin tropics, you really can live and work like a millionaire, but on a middle-class salary.

You’re Doing What? Are You Crazy?

When I moved to my tropical paradise, I left a very stable job in a strong blue-chip company. I felt a bit guilty and terrified that I was giving up my career, as it was a very valued position. However, it was only when I left the rat race of trading my time for money that I was finally able to really invest in myself enough to launch my own business. Many of my friends thought I was crazy. While it wasn’t an especially fuzzy feeling to experience, I also found it freeing to not be bound by other people’s expectations. Once you move to another country and oceans separate the disapproving glances, you tend not to pay attention to them anymore.

When you do something as drastic as moving to a foreign country, you will rock the boat; but sometimes it’s the only way to move your ship out of the harbor. In the tropical palm-tree paradise, I could finally clear my head enough to understand what I really wanted to do with my life. All the noise of my past life just stopped, and I could finally hear the tiny inner voice of my own desires empowered enough to speak out again.

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Get Ready to Get Uncomfortable!

When you move to another country, you will be forced out of your comfort zone, and everyone knows that’s where the magic really happens. You will no longer have family, friends, or security to lull you to complacency or talk you out of that crazy cutting-edge concept. You will be forced to learn another culture, maybe another language, perhaps drive on a different side of the road, taste new foods and experiences, and will be living a life outside of your previous perspective.

It’s like if an eagle were to hatch in a pasture and grow up around sheep. He’s comfortable, but won’t know his full potential until he discovers the pasture isn’t where he belongs, but in the air. It’s only when he takes on the different median by jumping off a cliff that he can truly soar and experience a new perspective. When you leave the world of cushy job titles, expectations, deadlines, and noise, your creativity is often unlocked and your new-found business mojo can brainstorm more conceptions than you ever dreamed possible.

Clean the Crud Out of Your Filter!

We all see the world through our own experience filter created by years of normality. Imagine if everyone had different shades of sunglasses and filtered each experience through their own judgement tinting. Experiencing only a small part of the world and staying comfortable limits your perspective and can cloud your vision.

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Moving to a new country is a great way to sweep away all of the unproductive things in your life and start fresh in your expectations, habits, and interactions. It’s like you’re given a transparent window to suddenly see everything clearly enough to craft the productive life you’ve always wanted.  First, no one knows you; so there are no old ghosts reminding you of your past, no expectations of how you’re suppose to behave, and no mold you have to fit into. Second, it’s enough of a lifestyle shock to clear away bad habits.

Maybe in your old life, you wasted your time on television or video games. Use the jolt of new adventure to create an improved version of yourself. What better time to begin reading books and working on entrepreneurial ideas on the beach, instead of vegging on the couch with potato chips watching television? Or, start feeding your brain by making fresh smoothies for breakfast with the abundance of tropical fruits instead of grabbing the Krispy Kreme on the way out the door (they probably aren’t available in your new country anyway).

Instead of spending your evenings eating popcorn at a movie theater with friends, start doing barefoot runs on the beach, watch the glorious sunset over the sea, and listen to the sounds of the night awakenings to inspire you to craft your next big idea. The slower pace of the tropics often helps you focus more on your own inward brilliance.

Third, when you leave your old country, you find yourself pulled away from previous relationships and pushed into the networking mentality. You can meet so many new and interesting people by simply being forced out of your old social circles and investing time on new connections that benefit your business. Changing your life really can be that simple, yet that profound. There is a lot of value in a blank slate, as you don’t need to worry about coloring inside any lines.

So What’s Stopping You?

There are many excuses you can craft to talk yourself out of such a drastic move. After all, it’s scary leaving the familiar to embrace such a different life. Others may even see you as dangerously drastic and just south of crazy. However, the house, car, and stuff can be sold. It’s actually not that hard to let it go, and selling all your junk can make you feel fantastically free. You really can quit that soul-sucking job you dread going to everyday and focus your time on the creation of your dream career. Moving to the Latin tropics can breathe new life into your business by giving you fresh vision, help you break free of old baggage, and create additional time in your day by paying others to help you live and work like a millionaire. It may just be the most epic work hack ever!

More by this author

Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

5 Reasons for Your Facebook Addiction (and How to Break It)

5 Reasons for Your Facebook Addiction (and How to Break It)

Facebook is embedded into lives around the world. We use it to connect with friends, share important milestones, and check in with the news. However, what may seem like harmless scrolling can become harmful if it takes up inordinate amounts of time and turns into a Facebook addiction.

The first step to breaking any bad habit is to understand the symptoms and psychological triggers that made you pick up the habit in the first place. Below you’ll find the common causes, and the good news is that, once you’ve identified them, you can implement specific strategies to get over your Facebook addiction.

Symptoms of a Facebook Addiction

Do you find that the first thing you do when you wake up is grab your phone and scroll through Facebook? Is it the last thing you see before falling asleep? You may have a Facebook addiction. Here are some more of the signs and symptoms[1]:

  • You end up spending hours on Facebook, even when you don’t mean to.
  • You use Facebook to escape problems or change your mood.
  • You go to sleep later because you’re glued to your screen.
  • Your relationships are suffering because you spend more time on your phone than you do talking with the people you care about.
  • You automatically pull out your phone when you have free time.

You can check out this TED Talk by Tristan Harris to understand how Facebook and other social media gain and hold our attention:

Psychological Reasons for a Facebook Addiction

A compulsive Facebook addiction doesn’t come out of nowhere. There are often root causes that push you into Facebook, which can ultimately manifest as an addiction once you become dependent on it. Here are some of the common causes.

Procrastination

Facebook can cause procrastination, but many times, your tendency to procrastinate can lead you to scrolling through your Facebook feed.

Facebook capitalizes on your tendency to procrastinate[2] by incorporating a news feed with an infinite scroll. No matter how far down you go, there will always be more memes and status updates to keep you distracted from whatever you should be doing.

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Thus, it might be helpful to change your perception of Facebook. Instead of looking at it like a place to be social or kill time, frame Facebook as the enemy of your productivity and purpose. Doesn’t sound as tempting now, right?

Loneliness or Indecision

Facebook resembles a boring reality TV show that is on full display during every hour of the day. Do you really need to tell everybody what you ate for lunch? I doubt it.

You don’t share such trivial details to add value to people’s lives. You’re likely doing it because you’re lonely and in need of attention or approval[3].

Seeking opinions from your friends could be a sign of indecision or low self-confidence. If you get a bad suggestion, then you can conveniently blame somebody else, thus protecting your ego.

Social Comparisons

Social comparison is a natural part of being human[4]. We need to know where we stand in order to judge our rank among our peers. And Facebook has made this all too easy.

When we get into Facebook, our brains are bombarded by hundreds of people to compare ourselves to. We see our cousin’s amazing vacation to Europe, our friend’s adorable baby, our brother’s new puppy, etc. Everything looks better than what we have because, of course, people are only going to post the best parts.

This extreme form of social comparison with a Facebook addiction can, unfortunately, lead to depression. One study pointed out that “people feel depressed after spending a great deal of time on Facebook because they feel badly when comparing themselves to others”[5].

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People-Pleasing

Facebook takes advantage of your desire for instant gratification[6]. Your brain receives a dopamine hit every time you see that red notification light up. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that causes you to seek pleasure from things.

Pleasure sounds nice in theory, but dopamine is responsible for self-destructive behavior if overproduced. Thus, becoming a slave to your notifications can destroy your self-control in a hurry.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the human desire to be liked and accepted is at play, too. Every time you get a “Like,” your brain decides that means somebody likes you. Keep this up and you’ll turn into an addict desperate for another “hit.”

Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Facebook wrecks your focus by preying on your fear of missing out. You check your Facebook feed during a date because you don’t want to miss any interesting updates. You check your messages while you drive because a friend might have something exciting to share.

One study found that “a high level of fear of missing out and high narcissism are predictors of Facebook intrusion, while a low level of fear of missing out and high narcissism are related to satisfaction with life”[7].

Therefore, while you may feel temporarily glad that you didn’t miss something, research shows that FOMO will actually reduce your overall life satisfaction.

How to Break a Facebook Addiction

Now that you know some of the causes of a Facebook addiction, you may be ready to break it. If so, follow these 5 steps to get over your addiction and improve your mental health.

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1. Admit the Addiction

You can’t fix a problem if you deny it exists. Don’t beat yourself up, but do try and be honest enough to admit you’re a Facebook addict. If it makes you feel any better, I’m a recovering addict myself. There is no reason to be ashamed.

Telling a trusted friend might help you stay accountable, especially if they share your goal.

2. Be Mindful of Triggers

In order to discover the triggers that lead you to use Facebook, ask yourself the following questions. It may be helpful to write them down at a journal.

  • What did I do? (scrolling, sharing, notification checking, etc.)
  • When did I do it? (down-time at work, as soon as you woke up, right before bed, on a date, etc.)
  • What happened right before? (a stressful event, boredom, etc.)
  • How did this make me feel? (stressed, anxious, sad, angry, etc.)

Once you’re aware of what pushes you to use Facebook, you can work on tackling those specific things to get over your Facebook addiction.

3. Learn to Recognize the Urge

Every time you feel the urge to update your status or check your feed, recognize that impulse for what it is (a habitual behavior—NOT a conscious decision). This is especially powerful when you complete step 2 because you’ll be able to make a mental note of the specific psychological trigger at play.

Have a plan for when you feel the desire to use Facebook. For example, if you know you use it when you’re bored, plan to practice a hobby instead. If you use it when you’re stressed, create a relaxation routine instead of jumping on Facebook.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Facebook is an epic time-suck, but that doesn’t mean you should criticize yourself every time you log-on to your feed. Beating yourself up will make you feel bad about yourself, which will ironically cause you to be even more tempted.

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Self-loathing can only lead to failure. You might end up deciding it’s hopeless because you are “too lazy.”  If you want to break your addiction for good, then you need to be self-compassionate.

5. Replace the Addiction With a Positive Alternative

It’s a lot easier to eliminate a bad habit when you decide on a good habit that you would like to replace it with. I applied this idea by choosing to pick up a book every time I was tempted to check my feed.

The result blew my mind. I read over a hundred pages in the first day! Trust me when I say those “few minutes of down-time” can add up to an obscene amount of waste.

Having a specific metric to track is important. If you want to stay encouraged, you need to have compelling evidence that your time would be better spent elsewhere.

For example, download an app to help you determine exactly how much time is spent on Facebook so you know how much of your life you’re losing to it. Then, when you find a healthy alternative, you can feel good about all the time you’re giving to it!

Final Thoughts

Facebook addictions aren’t uncommon in today’s technologically dependent world. In the pursuit of human connection, we’ve mistakenly taken our interactions online, thinking it would be an easier alternative. Unfortunately, this is no replacement for genuine, face-to-face interaction in real life.

If you think you have a problem, there are things you can do to tackle it. Get started today and improve your overall well-being.

More on How to Use Social Media Less

Featured photo credit: Tim Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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