Can travel make you a more productive person?
We get a lot of letters on this website from people who travel
Do things better
One common story that I get is that people actually feel that they become more productive. They feel that they are able to do things better and this kind of raises the question “Can travel make you a more productive person?”
Based on our letters and own personal experience, the answer would have to be absolutely. You have to understand that productivity is really a function of what you believe your limits to be. If you’re a person who thinks that you really can’t try all that hard because at some level or other, you are too stupid, too dumb or you just don’t have it in you physically, then don’t be surprised if you’re only able to produce at a certain level.
On the other hand, if you disregard all those limits that you initially believed about yourself, you may be surprised. It may well turn out that you are able to connect the dots and are able to produce more at a higher quality level.
Unfortunately, most people do not get that chance. Most people would rather stay where they are because hey, let’s face it, it’s comforting to draw limits around yourself. It’s comforting to say “I can only go so far.” or “I am only capable of this and not those.” When you do that, you don’t have to try as hard. You also don’t have to do something that a lot of people find uncomfortable. I am, of course, referring to confronting your fears and insecurities and knocking them back.
Unfortunately, the walls of your comfort zone, and I’m talking about the inside area where you find yourself in comfort, can feel like a prison. It can definitely act like one because if you don’t push back against the walls of your comfort zone, they start caving in on you. Sooner or later, you feel that you’re capable of less and less. You’re less likely to take chances. You’re less likely to go out on a limb. You’re less likely to run the risk of looking like a fool or embarrassing yourself.
People who think this way end up being very incapacitated. In fact, it’s as if they’re emotionally disabled because the whole world is a scary mess to them. Until and unless they find themselves in a situation where they are so comfortable and so familiar that everything falls into place according to some sort of familiar script, they just fall apart.
When you travel and you allow yourself to not necessarily be a new person, but to reconnect with who you truly are in terms of your ability to make sense of the world and to connect things, you may be to break out of this. You may be able to look at your situation and your “regular” life back home with a fresh set of eyes. Instead of allowing your old assumptions to always dictate what you can and can’t do, you might actually end up doing things that you thought you couldn’t do and realize that you can do them.
This leads to you taking even more risks, connecting more dots and doing more things. The end result? You’re a more productive person. You’re also more likely to take risks and this can lead to even greater victories. So yes, travel can make you a more productive person if you let it.
Unfortunately, most people don’t let this happen because they focus on being tourists instead of travelers.