Three key elements in my life: books, travels, and people

Image credit: Todd Diemer / Unsplash

For quite some time I’ve maintained that successful people have three things in common: They read, they travel, and they talk to people.

I was just surprised to find out that all three are part of how children learn and experience the world.

“Spontaneity was one lesson Dewey learned from children. The intensely social nature of thinking was another. Studying ‘the free play of the children’s communicative instinct’ showed him that children learn by doing and by talking.”

Reading enables us to experience different realities. Words transport us to other worlds, to other lives and cultures. Books, good books that is, force us to reflect and even reevaluate our beliefs. Sadly, and as I wrote recently, books are still incomplete. It’s impossible to capture wisdom with words. Wisdom needs to be experienced.

It teaches us that the world isn’t black or white, but gray.

That’s what traveling is for. Getting out of your comfort zone is something everyone should do. It illuminates different ways of living, diverse cultures, and realities. More importantly, it teaches us that the world isn’t black or white, but gray.

When we travel is when we bring to life all those concepts and ideas we’ve read about. Roaming a museum, fidgeting in a library, stepping around century’s old ruins, driving in crazy traffic, attending different religious rituals. All of these experiences enrich our lives and give us a new perspective and a new window into who we are.

Traveling also forces us to be spontaneous. Shit happens and not always we get what we want. When traveling, getting into weird situations is the norm (at least for me). Facing unusual situations makes you seek spontaneous solutions, forces you to make split second decisions.

Being nonjudgement and the capacity for empathy should be among our chief goals when traveling.

We can learn that happiness is everywhere, that love is everywhere, but so it’s anger and pain and fear. The reasons, the context, the trigger will be different and understanding this is a key life lesson. Being nonjudgement and the capacity for empathy should be among our chief goals when traveling.

But how important is it to read and travel if you don’t share it? I always found that talking to other people is what makes my brain click. It’s what brings my ideas together to form coherent thoughts.

It also allows you to check your beliefs, to analyze them, to get them criticized and enriched by other perspectives. It’s always energizing to be surrounded by smart minds that can give you incredible feedback.

When I say talking, I’m not referring to idle talk, but about chatting and discussing profound themes. It’s not about commenting on the newest Facebook change or the next big app. It’s about peeling away the obvious and sharing the impact of what surrounds us.

It’s not surprising then that if you check any list of successful people, you’ll always find that they engage in all three activities. No matter what.

So, what are you reading right now guys? Are you traveling enough? And how about a good old-fashioned gathering to talk about profound topics?

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