The most valuable lessons in life will never be taught nor learned with simple google searches or youtube videos. These sources of information at our fingertips give us access to knowledge that would have taken previous generations a lifetime to gather. But despite this wonderful tool of the worldwide web, there are lessons learned and skills gained by using the brain rather than the internet to connect dots and solve problems. Yes this requires more effort, but in return has far more effective, and longer lasting impact on knowledge.
Creative thinking can be used to solve difficult problems when traditional techniques and online tools might not be an option. Practicing creative and untraditional thinking in a variety of life's situations will begin to build a bank of "real world" resourcefulness. A tool that has sadly become overlooked by the majority, but can be applied as one of the most powerful skills in unlimited aspects of personal and professional life.
Continuously solving problems using new and unique methods will teach perspectives that will carry you to levels previously unobtainable simply due to mental processes that did not exist before. Exercising your creative thinking can develop skills that will cary you through short term problems, aid in positioning yourself for long term goals, help resolve mental blocks and struggles, find unique approaches to financial optimization, and ultimately understand the most efficient routes to endless challenges, bringing less stress and more happiness into your life.
"The only source of knowledge is experience" - Albert Einstein
If life is spent entirely in ones comfort zone, new experiences are massively limited. I encourage anyone aiming to achieve personal and professional growth to travel as frequently as possible. And why not start as early as possible too? What if I told you that the way you learned to do certain things in your hometown, the places you've been, with the people you've met or connected with aren't the single best or most efficient ways of doing things? How many unique approaches to different situations can be truly understood if the comfort zone is seldom left behind? Wouldn't you want to acquire as many different perspectives to solving as many different problems as possible? The more unique perspectives you gain, the more options and solutions you have to choose from to achieve your own specific goals and needs.
Pack Your Bags and Hit the Road!
The world is a massive place full of endless cultures and communities who all take their own unique approach to solving the various common problems of life that face us all. Traveling, and more importantly, engagement with various communities, is one of the best ways to find variations of creative thinking for solving problems, learning to apply them, adding them to your tool belt, and gaining new mental perspectives as well. The more you soak in will ultimately lead to a more powerful creative thinking process and a larger accumulation of information. These experiences can be used to expand your comfort zone, make new physical, and mental connections, and lead to various unknown and unlimited possibilities for advancement in your personal and professional life.
Education through travel can be approached in several different ways. If you want to be direct to the point of acquiring knowledge, you can plan travels to areas where the local communities are known to excel at a specific skill set you are looking to acquire. For example, if the skill set desired is rustic construction, a trip to areas near amish country would be a great place to engage in conversation and potentially work alongside some experts who most likely don't share their specific techniques on the internet. If the desired information was about the solar power industry, states like Colorado, Arizona, and California might be a good bet for finding new information or even potentially valuable connections.
If time is tight, be sure to plan as much of the trip as possible in advance. Looking to gain some general knowledge in a specific field? Look up and contact some local businesses in advance. Simply express your interests and ask the questions that will lead you to the answers you're looking for. The key to gaining the information you crave is to connect with as many people and businesses as you can within the time period of your visit.
The Art of Coffee Shop Conversation
When time is a bit more open, a great way to make local connections is by simply engaging with the community. Visiting the coffee shop in town or any place where you can sit down with some locals is a great place to host a good conversation when you're not too familiar with the area. The majority of people I meet when traveling are usually more than happy to lend any advice they might have or connections they may be able to present. The key is in the communication itself. Aim for a conversation that really flows off the mind. The kind of casual conversation where you don't have to think about how you're going to reply in fear of judgement. When you speak honestly with a stranger about deeper than usual conversations, you often get organically honest and useful feedback.
You just met a new person! Ask them about themselves, their background, their passions, their own goals, and more importantly, really care to know their story. A quality conversation will flow when two strangers are naturally open and honest. When you reach points in conversation that suit specific topics you'd like to discuss, bring them up! Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're a young person speaking with someone who clearly has more experience with money and personal finance, don't be afraid to ask for their advice about your specific situations, investments, strategies, etc. You never know what asking a question can lead to. Thats what makes the conversation with a stranger such a unique and natural approach to solving problems and receiving honest feedback. This is the kind of "networking" that social media simply can't provide. Real people meeting face to face, making a connection.
The point of the coffee shop conversation is that connections, wisdom, and new perspectives can come from anyone at anytime. Creating a habit of face to face communication is something that anyone can easily throw into their unplanned parts of the day. Next time you sit down at a coffee shop, rather than scrolling through your phone, strike up a conversation with someone. Mention your current goals and the problems you need to overcome. You'll be surprised by how many compete strangers over time will add unique pieces to your bank of knowledge and various skill sets.
Basic communication and social skills can lead you to more than you'd ever imagine. With travel tied in to this social habit, you can broaden your web of connections, compare and contrast different perspectives from various backgrounds, and become a more well rounded individual through your unique experiences. Not only will you gain professional value when connecting with people as you travel, but you will learn priceless life lessons as well. You'll meet people who truly inspire you, restore your faith in humanity, and some who will change your life forever. All starting with a simple "old fashioned" face to face conversation.