While I think it is essential to have clear purpose and focus in life, we still need to recognise that change happens and our reluctance to embrace change is our worst enemy.
That said, there is a difference between reacting to change, in other words going where the wind blows, and consciously responding to change.
Having a clear understanding of purpose, and identifying guiding principles help us navigate much of the change we face. However, I also find it immensely valuable to learn to tap into the plasticity of our own minds.
Over the past 10, 15 years or so, semi-consciously I have tried to embrace challenging my mind, observing the world around me, testing how I feel about venturing into new domains, new ways of thinking, looking at things from new perspectives. Although it’s not a change that happens immediately (it typically takes years to shape new patterns of thinking), I think this has been incredibly valuable to define where I am today.
An important source of inspiration is to seek contradictions, and try to understand why one side or the other bother us, why we can’t easily embrace both sides, what does it take to see the other perspective, even if we disagree with it. This is what attracts me to clashes of culture, geographic or otherwise.