Traveling teaches tough lessons, especially long-term travel. You will face moments of insecurity, moments of adversity and a hell of a lot of unknowns. Travel will force us to place our trust in strangers and in life in general, control is but a far-fetched idea.
I was definitely one of those people those people that used to hold onto everything, and then internalize it deep within. If somebody had hurt me, I wouldn’t just hold onto it, I would put the blame upon myself.
You know that feeling when you get rejected from a job (I sure do, over 130 rejections still sit in my inbox), when your idea gets shot down or when somebody breaks up with you. Wow life sure does suck sometimes right?
These moments can be devastating, especially when we take these hits personally, the loss of enthusiasm, self-belief and willingness to get back up can cripple us. I am sure 99% of the you can also relate to at least one of those situations.
I will also boldly predict that over 90% of people will try everything to control life in order to avoid going through them again. I know I did and by trying to keep control of the roller coaster that is life I was derailing myself from my happiness, potential and success.
Here I will share five powerful techniques which have helped shape my mind, happiness and lifestyle.
What does this have to do with control and letting go? Everything.
Many of us attach our value to…something or somebody, which immediately means we are giving it away. I felt great when I got my first job in London, my job title sounded sweet and I could walk around chest puffed out, with the authority and privileges it gave to me. On the flip side my manager regularly criticized my work and methods, I would question myself and my abilities, regardless of my results.
I also felt a tinge more confident approaching girls, because I now had a good job which elevated my value, and yet when I was rejected I would automatically believe that there was something wrong with me.
Hugely detrimental to our health is staying in unhealthy relationships because we have placed our worth there and we can’t face being alone (I know this).
When we don’t value ourselves, we can try to hold onto whatever it is that we have placed our value in, and letting go can seem like the scariest thing to do, even if deep within our hearts we know we should.
Follow My Heart…That’s Just a Fantasy
In the past, when I was still considered young and naive, I would constantly preach about following your heart. I still do make all of my major decision with that principle.
However I was regularly told that living this way is good while I’m young but eventually I will enter the ‘real world’ and have real responsibilities. I didn’t believe this then, and I definitely don’t now. Don’t get me wrong, I have and love responsibility, I work long days and love self-discipline, but I don’t like the notion that living your dreams is an unattainable desire and the real world will destroy my fantasies.
Instead I am bringing my fantasy life into the real world and exploring as many corners of it as I can. The heart is present in so many aspect of our lives. When we fall in love, we feel our heart flutter and leap for joy. When we’re rejected, our heart breaks. We are called heart-less or cold hearted when we show no care, and big hearted when we extend our love and concern. We ‘take things to heart’ or talk ‘heart-heart’ on personal issues. When we love, we love from the bottom of our heart and when we don’t care we are half-hearted. We experience the heart as the center of our feelings, so it is only natural to follow it.
Our minds are fantastic, they hold brilliance and beauty, we can understand and learn the most complicated things and find creative solutions to problems. The mind can also get caught up in the trivia and nonsense of everyday life, and bound by our insecurities and fears.
Our mind is the content of who we are, our heart is the essence not limited by fear instead propelled by love and joy.
Through travel, there is nowhere to hide, no job title, no material wealth (it would be far to heavy), and definitely no control. Through natural disasters, night buses in India (phew) and real local cuisine, there is no option but to let go.
5 Powerful Ways to Let Go and Live
You don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to let go of the baggage that is waying you down. One of my major goals has always been to travel the world, these techniques help me have the mindset to work towards my goals and live with confidence, happiness and freedom.
1. Talk to Strangers
I cannot recommend this enough, the differences it makes and connections you build are incredible. Whether it’s the person next to you on the bus, coach or train (yup even in London), the person in the queue behind you or somebody who looks interesting to you. Talk to strangers, make it a daily habit to speak to at least one stanger to start with and see the results after only 21 days.
I usually use something called the happiness chart when I travel, in my notebook I will ask the person I’m with to draw a line graph representing their ideal life in terms of happiness and sadness. This immediately opens up a human connection, and also brings some fascinating conversations.
By speaking with strangers you are breaking down any preconceptions and fear that builds up in your mind, and you will be rewarded with growth, connections and new opportunities.
2. Let Go of Expectation
In terms of traveling this brings about the best adventures, stories and experiences. The moment I go into a new country, I have no expectations, I am present to the moment and embrace anything which comes my way. I found that when I held expectation I was either disappointed, or they were met and I didn’t strive for more.
Within relationships it is easy to bring past relationship experiences into new ones, or expect your partner to behave in ways that align with your thoughts and actions. This can close off the opportunity to learn about your partner, appreciate who they are and grow together.
In my professional life I have found myself able to remove any personal value from my work, if it’s criticized, I have something to learn, I have new ideas to form and new skills to build.
By letting go of expectation and allowing life to happen, more opportunities, experiences and learning are opened up.
3. Be Present
One of the most life changing books I have read is ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, it details brilliantly how and why this will change your life.
To put this simply, the past has been, the future is yet to come. The past has shaped who we are today, but does not control us, our future will be shaped by the thoughts and actions we take today.
In each moment there is a gift, lesson or experience we can take something from and react to. How often do we allow our thoughts to drift to something that has pissed us off yesterday or we are stressed out by facing tomorrow. These thoughts genuinely take us away from enjoy the present moment, which takes us away from ourselves and the opportunities.
4. Embrace the Difficulties
Yup life is hard…noted, doesn;t matter who you are or where you are, life will be hard at some point. We cannot control that and instead we should embrace it. Adversity is a teacher, even if all it teaches us is what we don’t like, well then we know. Adversity shows us how strong we are, and we all go through it.
Pain should be felt with all the embrace as we do with happiness, it is just as temporary and significant. We will all have a bad day, week, month or even year, during these times we may as well be kind to ourselves, understand what is bringing us pain, why it hurts and allow ourselves to come through the otherside…we always will.
5. Meditate and Visualize
Meditation is phenomenal. Our lives are filled with so many stresses, responsibilities, insecurities, worries, fears and pressures it is overwhelming. By meditating we center ourselves, bring our thoughts back to clarity and refocus ourselves. Begin with just five minutes a day and tell me how you feel after 21 days.
This 15 minute guided gratitude meditation is a personal favourite and has worked wonders for me.
Visualization allows us to think about, and see the future we want.y seeing our future in front of us, we declutter the negativity that stops us from believing in what we can achieve. The subconscious is powerful beyond our full understanding and our thoughts feed it regularly.
I’m going to point you to the video above once more, it’s a game changer.
We don’t control life, as much as we want to we can’t it is unpredictable, volatile and incredible. The moment you begin to start letting go of the bad habits, negative voices, fear, past or anything else which is hindering your happiness you will feel and see the changes in your life.
I will always remember my past, what it was like dropping out of college, working for years in a job that hammered the happiness and life out of me and being told countless times what I can’t achieve in life.
I will definitely remember the countless rejections from jobs, friends and girls, and how low I once valued myself, my abilities and my future.
These experiences have all shaped me, however they are not who I am today, and who I am today will not be who I am tomorrow. By embracing life, following my heart and leaning into fear I live a life of freedom, unshackled from my past (and the ‘real world’) and worries of the future I now travel full-time and embrace the adventure.
Do you struggle with your insecurities or fears, or have you got any other great techniques that have helped you? Get in touch or leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.