A little over four weeks ago I said goodbye to the sand box that is Doha, Qatar and headed back home to the USA. I’ve had some reflection on my journey over the past 4 years and wanted to share 3 lessons I learned from my Doha experience.
#1 Nothing is ever what it seems.
Have you ever had one idea in your head, then started to brainstorm on it and have it expand so much that you hardly recognize the original idea? Or maybe you went to Walmart or Carre Four with the task of purchasing that “one thing” but some how you ended up with like 20 items in your cart. Yes! This completely describes my Doha experience over the last 4 years. I came to Doha with one purpose in mind and ended up doing so much more than what I originally intended. Yet, I can truly say that I am more aware, openminded and came out of it a stronger person.
#2 “Traveling is the Antidote to Ignorance” (Trevor Noah).
In Trevor Noah’s comedy special “Afraid of the Dark”, he says something that is very profound. He states that “Traveling is the Antidote to Ignorance.” I don’t think Trevor means ignorance in a derogatory sense, but ignorance simply meaning the “lack of knowledge or information” about the world (www.dictionary.com). This lack of knowledge is a key element that separates us as a society; even though in reality we all have so much in common no matter where we live or come from.
I would like to describe it as a deficit of the senses. For instance, right now close your eyes and imagine a palate that has never tasted your favorite dish. Eyes that have never seen in color, but only in black and white. Ears that have never heard the ocean waves or the laughter of a child. Can you imagine everything you would be missing? Your senses would be dull, sealed in a plastic package and yearning to be unpacked and awakened.
If you are relying solely on the local/national news, documentaries and social media to educate you on what you know and understand to be true about various cultures, people, and just for overall awareness; then you just might have a sensory deficit in relation to the world, people, and countries that surround you. From first hand experience, I would say that nothing (no news cast, documentary, book, photo, or online video) will ever beat the personal experience of setting your foot on foreign soil, tasting exquisite cuisines, or communing with our brethren from various cultures and countries.
So deny your senses no more. Get out and see the world!
#3 Nothings beats the good company of like minded people…but don’t forsake those with opposing views.
I say it all the time and I don’t mind beating this horse to Death! This is how strongly I believe in this principle. I have yet to find anything that can beat the company of like minded people who are striving toward a similar purpose and goal. During my time in Doha, I cultivated life long friendships and relationships with people from various parts of the world. Friends and associates who all came together to encourage and support one another. This was my Doha experience and it was a major contributor to my success and growth while I was there.
What are the benefits of being surrounded by like minded people? When you are surrounded with people with similar goals and purpose, you will find that you fill in the gaps for one another. Your circle will become one of a pseudo family, not of strife and competition; although you still challenge one another and have healthy debates. This circle is resourceful and one of networking. You can always count on the fact that someone in this circle has a resource that can help you with whatever it is your in need and to push you towards success.
However, let me say this: I also learned that while it is important to be surrounded by like minded people: It is also imperative to know that we can learn just as much from those with opposing views or different goals than our own. Communing with people who have opposing views than our own provides us with balance, challenges our thinking and pushes us to think outside the box. These are the types of interactions that can propel us towards growth and away from the status quo: So don’t shy away from a debate, or an opposing point of view. Challenge your mind!
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