Expanding upon a post by James Brausch called “Read Books” – I’d like to add a little more to the topic.
My ethnic background is Indian – my grandfather was from Gujrat and emigrated to East Africa. I was born in East Africa but was raised in Canada (been here since I was 2 years old). There is a saying in Gujarati that says, roughly translated into English – the person that travels (and sees the world) they get ahead or climbs (the word in Gujarati is chuhreh pronounced chuh-reh which means climb).
Basically what this means is that by expanding your horizons, seeing the world and all its nooks and crannies you open yourself up to new ideas and approaches to what you want in life. You get the opportunity to make new friendships and provided you nurture these friendships they are with you for life.
You are also thrust into new situations that call for thinking on your feet and in many cases having to make snap decisions based on your gut feeling and only taking into account the information you have at that time (which may not be the entire picture).
It’s like attending Toastmasters – where you get the opportunity to practice and improve upon your public speaking skills. Or attending industry conferences or workshops where you’re sitting with a group of total strangers.
These experiences are what helps us in life, it’s what helps us take on more challenging tasks and opportunities.
One of my first “trips” was to Tanzania, and the city of Dar Es Salaam where my wife is from. This was the first time I was truly exposed to poor and disenfranchised people. You really see people with nothing on the streets. You see disabled people that drag themselves on the street because there is no such thing as social services there. They have two pieces of clothing — their trousers and shirts. Even then some only have one.
This experience did shape the way I look at donations and charitable organizations.
When I first started my career in IT (as a programmer), I did a lot of travelling. Mostly I went to South America – and particularly to a city called Monterey in Mexico. It was a great place! I made a lot of new friends, and got a chance to see the city and experience the culture. I will never forget the experience. This was the first time I had actually left Canada, before this our family only travelled within the country.
From South America, we went (as a family trip with my wife) to the Middle East (Syria, Iran, and Dubai — a WONDERFUL place to visit). We spent several days in London and eventually found our way back to Canada.
My next business trip took me to Japan — an experience I will never forget (can you imagine a vegetarian where few are vegetarians?!). Besides the work – it was great meeting new people and seeing a different part of the world.
But what do you do if you can’t travel the world right now?
Read a lot.
Not only does reading entertain, it also teaches you how to write. It helps you improve on your writing skills.
Read what interests you. Magazines are fine, you can pick-up a lot of valuable information from magazines. Some of my favourite are:
- Business in Vancouver
- BC Business
I also enjoy reading the newspaper, but usually stick to the Saturday edition.
There are all types of books on hundreds and thousands of different topics.
Take some time out of your week (or day) to read a few pages on something that interests you.
Reading will also expand your horizons. You will learn something new, you may even pick-up new ideas for a business or product. Business ideas are all around you, you need to only OPEN your eyes and look.
Are you looking?