Welcome to the first Further of 2017 — thanks for being here!
To kick off the new year, let me tell you about the new category I’m adding to Further. In addition to resources that enhance your health, wealth, and wisdom, we’ll also explore travel.
Now, you grammarians out there know that when talking about travel in terms of distance, it’s farther, not further. But what we’re interested in is how travel leads to personal growth, so the figurative further is still right on target.
Even better, travel is an activity that’s practically guaranteed to change your life for the better. In fact, research establishes that Mark Twain was right when he said “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” as spending time in diverse locations really does broaden the mind and increase your acceptance of and trust in others.
We’re not necessarily talking about vacations where we recharge at a sheltered resort in some secluded location, though. While we do experience a new locale and the people who live there in those situations, the staff is often directed to deliver an experience that has “all the comforts of home.”
Rather, you want to immerse yourself in cultures that are very different from your own, eliminating the comfort zone of your normal roles, status, and relationships. This type of travel may raise challenging questions about what you view as “normal,” and the wonderful opportunity to come up with meaningful answers.
Other research reveals that extended travel enhances your personality in positive ways, much like your personal projects allow for change and even transcendence. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take travel to a new and interesting location over running a marathon any day.
Here’s the most fascinating aspect to me, given that I plan to roam the world perpetually once my kids leave for college. Research reveals that your experience of time slows down when you’re traveling.
Reflect back on your childhood. When you’re a kid, you’re experiencing new things every hour of every day. As an adult, time seems to fly by due to our routines and lack of novelty in our experiences.
“Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it,” writes Joshua Foer. When you’re constantly exposing yourself to new locations, cultures, and individuals, your experience of time stretches out, just like those three years of middle school seemed to last forever. Hopefully your travel experiences are more positive.
Living a long, happy life is one thing. Having the experience of living a long, happy life is even better.
Income and education levels tend to determine whether one travels abroad in any meaningful way. Airbnb and the new breed of upscale hostels offer more opportunities for budget travels than ever, without having to slum it.
That helps with income. Sadly, some people simply have no desire for extended travel. Many Americans live just a few miles from where they grew up, and rarely (if ever) leave the area.
Just like people with a fixed mindset believe that they are incapable of change, there is a similar resistance to experiencing any sort of change from “normal life” as well. It’s ironic, because the false beliefs of the fixed mindset might well be shattered by a single travel experience out there in the big, wide world.
But that’s not you, right? So check out these travel resolutions and how to make them happen for yourself in 2017.
“Superagers” are not just in great mental shape for senior citizens, their memory and attention are on par with healthy 25-year-olds. The key seems to be a thickening of the major hub regions of the cerebral cortex. How does this thickening happen? Work really hard at things in your life, whether the effort is physical or mental.
Ketogenic = Photogenic
Unless you went on a media fast for the holidays, you couldn’t escape hearing about the ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. So, I decided to see what I could find for beginners who are interested, and came up with the aptly titled A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners. Also of interest, a version of the ketogenic Atkins diet that is completely plant based:
Your Special Purpose
This article could easily go under both the Wealth or Wisdom section, but let’s remember — health first. These findings are right in line with the importance of finding true meaning and purpose in the activities you engage in order reap the intrinsic benefits of personal growth.
If you’re looking into doing more investing this year, you may hit a wall of acronyms like RRSP, TFSA, and ETF. Get in the know with Personal Investment Lingo Defined. And since the last bit of lingo defined in the article is “alternative investments,” let’s take a look at those in a little more detail:
“Should” is a Dirty Word
Bravo to the Harvard Business Journal for telling it like it is — not all professional development is equally relevant among different people. It’s not what you “should” be improving on, it’s what has meaning and purpose (see above) to you.
Speak! Good Boy
Back in 2007 when I first started getting invited to speak at conferences, I hated it. But, despite my fear of public speaking, I did it anyway, and now I have no fear of it at all. Apparently, Warren Buffett felt the same way, did the same thing, and thinks you should as well.
Baby Steps Win
We’ve talked about constant improvement and incremental change in the context of goal setting and achievement many times here. This article may be the best I’ve read on the topic, with example approaches to starting to exercise, saving money, asking for a raise, and being more productive.
Where Is My Mind?
Did you know the word “further” originally became a thing for me by doing an intellectual exercise that requires you to eliminate everything that isn’t real until you’re only left with what you truly are? It’s not your thoughts, or your feelings; nor does it stop at the confines of your body. I’ll let science tell you where one eventually ends up.
“Intimacy always involves risk. But whether for friendship or for love, it’s a risk most people are willing to take—even to search out—because connection is our surest path to transcendence.” Wait a minute, I thought it was travel!
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