I’m not a world traveller by any means, having been to only five countries. But each time I travel, my horizon and perspective is stretched and enriched. Visiting other countries takes us out of our own little worlds and allows us to see and experience things we wouldn’t normally experience. We get stale when our routine becomes…routine. It’s time to shake things up; at least a bit! That’s good for the brain and for the soul.
I’ve read that only 25 percent of Americans have passports. Traveling takes time and money and sometimes a little courage! So, if you don’t travel much, what can you do to broaden your perspective, get out of your normal routine and experience something new?
Here is a suggestion and it won’t cost you any more time or money — just a little flexibility. And if you’re a little short on flexibility, this is going to make a huge difference and show up in your career and in every other area of your life.
Did you know you can change your routine behavior, surprise your brain and enhance your mental and emotional flexibility simply by doing what you always do…differently! That’s right, you can keep doing the same things, just don’t do them in the same ways.
I’m not suggesting that routine is all bad. Doing the same things in the same ways can save us decision making time and a familiar routine can ease a stressful day. On the other hand, it can also dig a rut we unintentionally stay in and cause us to miss some great experiences along the way.
So, this week, shake things up a bit. It’s really simple: Leave for work earlier and take a different route. Listen to music you don’t normally listen to, read a different kind of book (if you normally read nonfiction, dive into fiction). Shave with your non-dominant hand, write a thank you note to someone (how often do you do that?) write a poem, go to lunch with someone at work you don’t often spend time with, change your exercise routine and surprise your body. Learn a new skill or try out a new sport or hobby. You get the idea. It’s not brain surgery, but it will exercise your brain, build new patterns and build in new levels of mental and emotional flexibility. Not many people do that, you can be the exception.
Spend some time thinking about the things you normally do and then do them differently! This will change your perspective, shake things up a little and refresh you. Your routine experiences won’t be routine anymore. Getting in a rut diminishes our productivity, creativity and innovation. That’s a career killer, not to mention what it does to our inner self.
We don’t have to travel outside the country to visit new surroundings. We can just adjust our journey to include new behaviors, sights and encounters. And we don’t need a passport to do that.
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