Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Traveling to a country where you are a minority and look different, is humbling and builds empathy for other cultures and ethnicities. Walking into a restaurant and being the odd man out before you even open your mouth will make you more welcoming to strangers who stand out in a crowd.
Traveling through a foreign country that has a different religion and customs will teach you that the sun doesn’t revolve around your home country and that other cultures and races are getting on with life just fine without you. You realize there’s not only one way to live.
Be curious, be humble, be open-minded. Travel fuels your creativity and makes you a better global citizen.
The saying goes that the days are long and the years are short. Five years goes by in a flash.
Take a moment to look back on the last five years and ask yourself what advice you would give your younger self if you could travel back in time and share a meal together. Think about the experience and guidance you would provide. Do the same exercise with a ten-year look back. As a 30-year-old what advice would you give your 20-year-old self? If you are 40 what information would you provide your 30-year-old self?
A couple of insights bubbled up for me when I played this out in my head:
* * *
Take more risks.
Be patient, but don’t hold on too long. Have the guts to know when to leave. Knowing is the easy part. Saying it out loud is the hard part.
Back yourself more. Everyone is making it up as they go.
Learn by doing. Over-analysis will paralyze you.
Don’t be in such a hurry to start a career. The career will find you when you are ready.
Be kind to your body.
Don’t stress so much. There’s only now. Most of the time you land on your feet, and most of the things you worry about are in your head.
Small contributions compound over time. Small acts of kindness, small investments, small tweaks add up.
* * *
Try it. It’s an enlightening exercise
If you want to make new friends or nurture existing relationships, then find shared interests. Shared interests create shared experiences and shared memories. Find communities that work and play together.
Suburban America is compartmentalized into McMansions, high fences, and car friendly neighborhoods. Suburban America is not a healthy garden to grow a community. People have everything they want at their fingertips but are still isolated and lonely. When last did you have a conversation with your neighbors or fellow tenants?
The good news is that concentrated urbanization is trending and housing legislation is adapting. Sadly tech hubs like San Francisco have been slow to adjust and will see an exodus of young people and families looking for more affordable living arrangements and better public services.
Individually owned cars will be a legacy mode of transporting and will be surpassed by communal ownership and various forms of public transport. Public transportation like trains is a leading indicator of growth in new companies. More trains in cities equate to more successful startups. Sci-fi novels are pretty good at telling the future, and most of them envisage dense cityscapes, and that is full of skyscrapers.
We see the same trend in farming. We will do more with less space as people urbanized. The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the US, which has 270 times its landmass.
Healthy communities depend on each other, are compassionate and look out for their neighbors. More and more people will migrate to these megacities and sadly away from family. The community will become their family over time…any immigrant knows this from personal experience. Compartmentalized America is in for a nasty surprise as these trends start to accelerate. Adapt now and start exercising your community muscle.
With the age of automation in full swing, we will be interacting more and more with software and hardware over humans. It’s an exciting time. Michael Fassbender’s role in Prometheus is a perfect example how androids will help older people on a daily basis. I also like the idea of TARS in the movie Interstellar. We’ll see the same trend in mobility, healthcare, finance, childcare, teaching, and sex. It’ll happen really slowly and then super fast. Humans will come to depend on AI the same way that we depend on family and friends.
With the tsunami of AI and Android assistance, people are going to lose touch with other humans. It’ll be possible to spend years alone with Androids and not see or touch another human. It will be like the space travel we see in sci-fi flicks where explorers live in space capsules protected from the harsh outside environment. These capsules will start to pop up on earth…first in hospices, then schools and then homes.
Over time people are going to crave real-life interactions again. There will probably be vacations zones and place that are Android free and zero technology zones. People will pay a premium for the imperfection of humans, whether it’s screwing up a food order, a casual conversation, while waiting in line, or brushing past someone on the bus. Things we take for granted or shy away from today, will be paid for and cherished.
Real life, authentic interactions will be something our grandkids only read about, but never experience. This thought makes me thankful for what I have today.
Sometimes in life, you’ve got to scratch that itch. Maybe it’s buying an old camper van you’ve always wanted. Perhaps it’s trying a new career, starting a company, living in New York City, making a road trip across the country, writing a book. Scratching that itch may lead to a significant life change, but it’s also may help you lay the ghost and satisfy you. You might love the old camper van, or you might find it’s a real schlepp to maintain, or that a flat battery on a rainy Tuesday morning really sucks. You might see that there are some really long dull spots in a cross-country trip and next time you’d be better off fliying.
Scratch the itch, it’ll satisfy you no matter what the outcome.
Most of the successful people I know have a common trait. They are generous with their time and money. Like attracts like. I think the generosity comes first and the success follows. Yes, there will always be hoarders and takers, but I think they are the exception and not the rule.
Watch for yourself – you’ll pick up a pattern. Lucky, generous people share their things and expertise, welcome new friends into their community, offer to help at the right moments and value loyalty. They have an abundance mindset. In their minds, there is always enough for everyone.
Listen, be still. We all have enough