Experiences are not Universal

When did you realize that you grew up with different experiences than those around you?

Stanley in traction for a month with a broken neck.

Sure you may recognize that you have had some unique experiences like I did with going in a hot air balloon with my wife Dorie. I also realized not everyone breaks their bones like I have through my life.

Family vacation on Royal Caribbean Freedom of Seas

One year my parents treated my sisters and our families to a cruise. I would have never afforded this and this was a wonderful experience to put into our memory banks.

Johnny Rodermund, his date and I with Angela Jones dressed for senior prom.

The moment that became my awakening is when our family moved from Eastern North Carolina to Englishtown, New Jersey. Every day for a long time I was seeing new things and taking in a world so different than from where I came.

Cross cultural experience is what this was for our family. It influenced our views, our values, our humor, our hopes, our loyalties, and our worries and fears. So when you are working with people and building relationships with them, it helps to have some perspective and understanding of their cultures.

Witch Doctor in Togo, West Africa [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, ISO 100, Ä/1.4, 1/2500]

To understand your culture, the best thing you can do is to leave it and experience another culture.

Roadside cafe’ in Tenkodogo where they serve food, petrol and drinks. (Photo by: Stanley Leary)

You begin to ask yourself questions you would never had done had you stayed within your bubble. Just experiencing food around the world and how they prepare it can be eye opening.

I believe one of the greatest problems we face today is that so many people have lived in a bubble way too long. They look at the way people do something that is different than the way they do it as inferior rather than as just different.

We enjoyed our meal tonight at Parrilladas La Chola, Peñalolén, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile. This was Churrasqueria, Chilean, South American type of food. [http://www.lachola.cl/] [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5600, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 58)]

I think way too many are like children who will not eat but only one thing. I had a cousin that only ate hot dogs for a long time.

I was brought up to eat whatever someone put in front of you. We had to be members of the “Clean Plate Club.” We even had children plates with this on them.

I’m sorry to tell you, but many of you are living in a bubble.

It’s a bubble made up not only of the work you do, but your friends, the books you read, and your day-to-day routine.

It’s a bubble built from the meals you make each week.

It’s your Monday/Wednesday/Friday gym schedule.

It’s the route you take to work or the favorite coffee shop you write in on Sundays.

Yes, all those things are your bubble.

Your bubble is the safety net you surround yourself with every single day. It’s the routines and schedules that make your life stay stable and on track.

And yes, your bubble is also the building blocks of happiness, meaning, and even creativity. But it’s also a wall — one that separates mediocrity and greatness and that gets harder and harder to cross the higher you build it.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Haruki Murakami
Roadside cafe’ in Tenkodogo where they serve food, petrol and drinks. (Photo by: Stanley Leary)