The most exhilarating realization happens when you accept your role in the world. Recently, on an Under30Experiences adventure in Peru, a theme emerged to help me understand myself better:
In order to carry yourself with self-confidence in travel, your personal life, or your career, one needs to tackle a daunting task that makes many people squirm: self-reflection.
To truly understand yourself takes effort through your own understanding, flexibility, and discipline. Sure, those last two points counter each other, but the process of becoming true to your inner self takes a lot of adjusting as well as the commitment to remain loyal to your core principals.
Under30Experiences’ innovative style allows like-minded professionals to create memories together and then walk away with a better understanding of the world as well as their inner selves. Let me explain this company’s approach as well as the three step process that you can use to identify your own role in the world.
Our group of fifteen travelers created an atmosphere that will be hard to replace in our routine lives. The Under30Experiences team has a phrase, “We’re not a travel company. We’re an experience company.” Their itinerary included Peru’s star attraction, Machu Picchu, and a cultural immersion experience at Parque de la Papa. All of the other times outside those two experiences were left TBD (to be determined).
Unlike most travel companies, our group leaders didn’t control the experience with a detailed itinerary outlining each hour’s activity. They instead encouraged each attendee to build their own experience. This forced the travelers to branch away from the crowd, and form separate groups seeking their own adventures. At the end of each day, the entire group reconvened to share our different stories at organized dinners or on the transportation legs of our trip. No judgment occurred about the other members’ experiences; we took pride in our own excursions and were thrilled to see that the other group members found awesome experiences that suited their styles.
The group leaders expected people to have the self-confidence and to be assertive to enjoy themselves rather than hold each attendee’s hand on an international vacation.
To obtain this self-confidence, internal missions need to occur to understand your own wants and desires. Otherwise, how would you know what kind of adventure you’re seeking? We then needed to follow our instincts, utilize resources, and create the experiences that we wanted.
While part of this tour group, a side expedition into my mind occurred. In order to identify my role in the world, a three step process emerged. To help you achieve your own breakthrough, here is that process.
International travel allows people to escape their comfort zones and see how their own neighborhoods differ from people across the globe. This humbling reflection occurred for many members of our group while traveling to the simple areas of Peru. We noticed how cultures survive, thrive, and smile just like us even when their communities seem so desolate.
The responsibilities of life consume so many day after day and it takes conscious effort to become conscious. Setting aside time to think and reflect allows us to identify what makes us unique.
Our inner monologues (only understood by the individual) need time to think and sometimes traveling over 4,000 miles to remove yourself from your routine is the only way to discover your mind.
It was an honor and privilege to have deep conversations with some of these people and notice their growth throughout the brief six days on our trip.
Once a person really understands their role in the world, a weight is lifted from their shoulders. The pressures of keeping up with social norms drift away and you find pleasure in exploring your unique journey. For example: on our trip, this meant either going on a shopping excursion or taking a guided tour to learn about some ruins. You discover what you enjoy most and shape your own trip.
It is imperative to be yourself while respecting other people for being themselves. A conscious effort to accept other people’s opinions and styles paves way to a harmonious peace in your own inner monologue which seeps out to your external relationships.
The Under30Experiences team made welcoming and farewell remarks as well as keeping our group on schedule for our transportation. What stood out was the lack of forced bonding. No team-building exercises to ensure that everyone gets to know each other through an artificial setting. They allowed the group dynamics to form naturally which is the best way to let friendships develop.
This group had people with different styles. Dorks were proudly dorks, artistic souls found ways to express their creativity, and everyone sought out their own adventures. The social pressures to conform were not apparent in this group which allowed each person to be more comfortable and true to their inner selves.
As Dan Gilbert, the scientist who gave the TED Talk titled, The Psychology of Your Future Self, said, “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
While discovering what brings you inner peace, it is important to remember that you’ll grow with every new memory and experience. New skills develop and your overall personality morphs into a new being daily.
Improve every day to better your future self and accept that you can’t do anything about the past but accept that it happened. Understand that people come with their own identities and you don’t need to agree with who they are, but accept that they have a different history that shaped them. You can only control you!
Self-reflection causes people to squirm because it forces people to face their weaknesses. Most people initially focus on areas that need improvement, disregarding their individual strengths. With conscious effort and frequent practice, self-reflection allows you to accept the whole. While it may seem daunting at first, one only needs to look at the happy faces of the Tibetan monks to understand the long-term benefits of this endeavor.
Enjoy the Experience
Everyone on this Peruvian trip had their own personalities, quirks, and intentions for embarking on an international flight to South America. Each person took away from the trip what they intended while respecting the other members for creating their own memories.
Self-reflection is an ongoing process that takes effort as well as the flexibility to adapt. Through this process, you’ll notice your self-confidence’s improvement because you’re being true to yourself. Self-confidence is a luxury that many seek but few experience. Once achieved, your mind and body act in true harmony because you’re living the life that you intend.
If travel forces you to self-reflect, then travel more. If you need to sit alone with your own thoughts in meditation, then go meditate. As Winston Churchill expressed, “We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.”
You have unique characteristics and it’s your obligation to find out when, where, and how you express your strengths to the world. Through understanding yourself, you answer your own inner monologue when it asks, “Why?”
What is the most important lesson you have learned while traveling?
Daniel C. Andrews is the Founder of Well-Rounded Success and the Chapter President of YoungPro Elite – Denver. He enjoys advancing his professional career, as well as his personal development, by representing his personal mission statement: Strive to Positively Influence. To learn more about Dan, please visit www.danielcandrews.com.