Broad perspectives enhance understanding of life. Live abroad at least once in your life and fine-tune your empathy.

When I was in high school I had a fascination with all things French.

I joined the French club. I learned to speak the language. I loved the show Les Misérables. There was something so romantic, so different about France, that I had to go there.

Sadly, I didn’t have any money.

Travel to another country.

It wouldn’t happen until several years later after college that I would travel overseas and live abroad.

It’s true that when I was a young girl I lived in Japan for two years. However, a small child doesn’t comprehend the experience of otherness that being in another country makes you feel. A small child doesn’t have the same response as an adult.

Being a young adult in a foreign country, a young American in a foreign country, was very exciting and humbling.

Living abroad is an experience that every young American should have because it helps develop an awareness of our place in the world.

Live abroad and see how the world sees us.

At the time that I write this post, we have just experienced a highly contentious Presidential election and a tough year. The U.S. has a new President and, as is the case with each new president, their vision of the world and the United State’s place in it will guide and shape their policy.

These new policies affect people. Young Americans, for the most part, live very wealthy lives compared to many people around the world. Our homes are bigger, we have electricity, and with the exception of Flint, Michigan, most of us have clean water.

We’ve experienced very little civil disruption, we have plenty of food, and most people have access to the internet.

It’s not like that everywhere.

We grow up with stories of how just and fair the U.S. is and when we step outside of our bubble we are presented with an alternative view of the history that we’ve been told our whole lives.

Leaving the U.S. to live abroad forces one to answer questions that we might not typically be asked.

We discover that some countries and citizens absolutely love the U.S. and other countries… not so much.

Travel puts us face-to-face with people who are affected by the decisions that our country makes (good or bad). When you’re faced with people who are affected by policies that we feel are in our best interest, we are compelled to defend or refute a policy with a depth of reflection that we may not normally tap into during our day to day lives in the U.S.

For many young travelers being presented with a negative or positive view of the U.S. may catch you off-guard. And you may find yourself wondering if everything that we’ve been told about our country is a lie.

Not necessarily, but how one group sees a geopolitical situation may be completely different from how another group perceives it.

When you live abroad, you see the way others see us. And that’s not a bad thing. We should have more understanding with other people from other countries.

Live abroad and become “the other.”

Living in a foreign country forces people into an experience of otherness. As a person of color, I’ve been the only black person in a class or a group (on many occasions). But there are many people who’ve never had the experience of being “the other.” It can be a shocking, disturbing and somewhat disorienting experience.

Young Americans need that experience so that they can develop empathy and develop a worldliness that can only be discovered through travel and a deeper curiosity about who and what is around us.

Young Americans need to travel abroad because not everything is about us. And to learn that life lesson, we have to venture beyond our borders. Those adventures foster a curiosity about the world that might fuel other adventures.

That curiosity about the world and willingness to explore it as a younger person will serve you well later in life if you go into international business or politics.

In recent election cycles, voters expressed concern about candidates lacking global awareness because they hadn’t traveled or lived abroad.  From a job perspective, international businesses look at global awareness through the lens of actual time spent living and exploring other places.

But, if developing a global awareness isn’t enough to entice you to live abroad, maybe the following reason will be enough: travel abroad because you can.

While you’re still single, have no kids, and basically have the least amount of responsibilities that you will ever have during your life. Of course, you can travel abroad at any age, but that first time when you have very little to lose and everything to gain, that first experience is everything.

For some people, that one experience will be enough. For others (like myself) that first trip will become addictive. And, each trip has grown my global awareness, my awareness of my role as an American citizen, and fed my lust for adventure.

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Clayton Daniel shows how you can use the money and time you have today to fund your ideal lifestyle.

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Show Notes

Our regular hosts, Harlan and Miranda, are joined today by regular Adulting.tv contributor and guest co-host, Jana Lynch. Today’s guest is Clayton Daniel, author of Fund Your Ideal Lifestyle.

What is it that you really want out of life? Are you spending too much time at work? Here’s how to stop feeling like you’re wasting the best years of your life.

Happiness and fulfillment come about when you identify what you want and find ways to achieve it with the resources (time and money) that you do have.

Clayton Daniel is a personal finance expert specializing in cognitive minimalism: the belief that outsourcing the greatest stresses in life such as money to technology and automation, result in better performance across every other area of life. Visit Clayton online at Fund Your Ideal Lifestyle.

Clayton spent ten years of his corporate career in accounting and financial advice. As personal finance flourished online, Clayton identified a broadening gap between what could be offered through financial planning, and what genuinely helped people succeed in achieving what they wanted out of life.

Clayton’s professional experience is in tax accounting, and financial advice with Dixon Advisory, AMP and his own company Hillross Silverstone. He has worked with the AFA, XY Adviser and the University of NSW.

Listen to the podcast audio by using the player above.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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It sounds hokey, but you really can change your destiny. Be real about why your life sucks, and then take steps to make positive change.

One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul:

“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about.”

I like this quote because it makes you the master of your destiny, the author of your own story.

It often feels like we’re at the mercy of a million external forces. The boss has unreasonable expectations. Children and spouses have needs. Mom and dad think we should do this. The neighbor is upset about that.

Have you ever wondered, “How did I get here?” or “This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.”

Life took over and suddenly we’re living up to everyone’s expectations but our own.

But you can change your destiny. It takes some effort, but it’s possible if you take the right steps.

We made our today.

If we’re the masters of our tomorrow, then we were the masters of the yesterday that produced our today.

Today is the future yesterday. Today didn’t happen by accident. Whether you realize it or not, you consciously or unconsciously led yourself to this moment.

Our decisions, thoughts, and actions yesterday resulted in what we see, live, and feel today.

Do you like the results around you?

At this point, most people deflect to their perceived circumstances. Rather than take responsibility, it’s often easier to blame someone or something else for today’s results.

“He did this to me” or “She made me do that.” Blame your family’s social or financial status. Blame your place of birth, the economy, or politicians.

Blame any and everything you can except yourself. In the litany of blame, you’re innocent.

While it can make you feel better to approach things this way, it won’t help you change your destiny.

Gary Vaynerchuk points out that if anyone else with our perceived limitation has achieved success, then there’s no reason we can’t achieve success.

If anyone else with our perceived limitation has achieved success, then “the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem” (Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean).

It’s a harsh truth: if we’re not happy with our reality, we’re responsible for it.

It’s also a refreshing truth because as much as we made our today, we can change our tomorrow. Instead of placing blame, we should change what we believe. Earl Nightingale said, “What we think about we become.”

What are you thinking? The answer is all around you, and it can change your destiny.

For the Bible says so.

If we don’t like what we see around us, we must change what’s inside us. We must change our beliefs about who we are, what we’re worth, and what we can be. We can be anything we want to be, we just have to believe. This may sound like another Disney quote, but it’s a truth that goes back to history’s oldest texts.

We can be anything we want to be, we just have to believe. This may sound like another Disney quote, but it’s a truth that goes back to history’s oldest texts.

Mark 11:23 says, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.”

Changing beliefs is easier said than done, but it is doable.

Many of our beliefs are etched into our subconscious. Because they’re buried so deep inside us, we often don’t know why we believe them. We dismiss them as “it’s just who I am” or “it’s just what I believe,” as if they’re inherent truths. If our inherent truths aren’t serving us, we would do well to change them.

We can change our subconscious programming, otherwise known as our neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). This is the script we tell ourselves. It’s the voice we hear inside our head.

Did you ever wonder why you say the things to yourself that you do? That’s your NLP.

Changing your NLP is the key that will help you change your destiny.

Changing your texts.

There are two exercises that can help change your NLP. I notice as soon I stop doing them. The first action is repeating affirmations. The second action is keeping a gratitude journal.

It sounds a little hokey, but these two actions really can help you change your destiny.

Draft a script you can memorize. It should describe the best version of you and what you want to achieve.

Be specific and include deadlines. For five minutes each day, in the morning or before bed, close your eyes and recite your affirmations out loud.

Picture in your mind’s eye what you say. Feel the emotions of achieving your goals and being who you know you can be. Imagine what it will feel like, smell like, and sound like. Involved all your senses.

This will feel like a strange at first, but it’s a repetitive exercise that, over time, will change your NLP. When you change your NLP, you change your beliefs, change your behavior, and change your results. You change your destiny.

Next, while you practice affirmations, keep a gratitude journal, even on days when it feels like you have nothing for which to be grateful. Focus on the positive. As you focus more on expanding the positive, you’ll see more positive results.

It’s easy for our thoughts to drift into negative territory because we’re surrounded by negative stimuli. Plus, misery does love company.

If your coworkers aren’t getting you down about work, your boss is on you about your job. If you’re not depressed about the weather, the news does it’s best to make you blue.

A daily exercise that fights negativity will change your outlook and, therefore, your beliefs, your behavior, and your results.

The truth is that we’re all responsible for our results. The sooner you acknowledge that and manage your beliefs, the sooner you can change your destiny.

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You don’t need to be an obnoxious braggart to get ahead. In fact, you might be better off cultivating a little humility. Don’t be a jerk.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

We all hope to successful in life. There’s nothing wrong with that.

However, your success can be problematic if you’re arrogant about it.

Remember: even though you might be the hardest working person you know, chances are that someone has helped you along the way.

It helps to cultivate humility in your life. You’ll be a better person for it, and the people around you will be grateful as well.

Concepts

  • Reasons for a lack of humility in today’s culture.
  • Why humility is an important characteristic to develop.
  • The importance of acknowledging your own weaknesses.
  • Relationship between humility and gratitude.
  • Is it possible to be humble while still being engaged in personal branding?
  • Strategies for building your brand without being obnoxious.
  • Leadership strategies that are compatible with being humble.
  • The relationship between confidence and humility.
  • How to avoid falling into the trap of humble bragging.

This week’s “do nows” focus on ways you can cultivate gratitude in your life in order to avoid the pitfalls of arrogance. We include ideas for being grateful, as well as helping others. Our listener question addresses how it’s possible to grow your business without being a complete jerk.

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Resources

Developing humility as a leader
Importance of humility in democracy
Humility and the workplace
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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2016 really felt like the worst. Now that it’s over, we can breathe a sigh of relief. But was it really that bad? Are we just drama queens?

Many of us had just begun the process of putting our holiday decorations away and enjoying the beginning of 2016 when we heard the news: David Bowie died two days after his birthday.

It caught us off guard. We didn’t even know that he was sick.

WTH?

Collectively, we began mourning his beautiful music and the effect that his music had on our lives. The Thin White Duke was gone.

Celebrity deaths were everywhere in 2016.

As the year continued, it felt like 2016 had it in for us. Many of the people who were part of the tapestry of our lives weren’t going to get out of 2016 alive.

Prince, Mohammed Ali, Alan Rickman (Snape from The Harry Potter Series), Gene Wilder, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, and Fidel Castro. The alarming thing is that this is the short list.

And let’s not forget the late-year tragedy of losing Princess Leia/General Organa. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

It didn’t feel like we were drama queens as we continued to wrack up more losses even until the very end of 2016. It felt like the obvious response to emotional stress.

Was this the worst presidential election ever?

On top of all of the people dying, we were inundated by the constant sharing of the dulcet tones of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton making their cases for the presidency.

All day long. We couldn’t escape them, online, on TV on our cell phones, and any other place we found ourselves browsing for information. And we couldn’t escape friends and family talking about politics.

As we moved further into 2016 it began to feel like we were under fire.

Or, was our perception of what was going on in our world skewed by the constant availability of news, newsfeeds, and friends sharing things that would otherwise slip our notice?

Was our belief that 2016 had been a crappy year a result of the skillful targeting of Facebook ads and fake news stories? Was the real issue with 2016 that we had too much information available to us at all times?

Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.

I found that, compared to other years, 2016 did feel like an exceptionally difficult year. And, as I wrote this post I decided to reflect on this. Was 2016, in fact, a difficult year? Or was there something else going on that I didn’t want to admit?

Are we all just a bunch of drama queens?

Life happens.

Life isn’t always easy. It’s messy, chaotic, and it’s not always pretty. Life is a gift, but it’s a gift that comes with the following reality: life is balanced out by death.

And, without being too morbid, death happens when you least expect it.

But 2016 was rough not just because of the beloved celebrities who passed away. It was rough because it felt like our way of life was dying. To me, it felt like the spirit of America in the way that we knew it was going away and maybe that was what was what we were having a collective reaction to.

And, let’s also be honest, as we get older our awareness of the mortality of the people in our lives becomes more acute.

We’re a lot more aware of the threats to our own lives and safety and with the ability to: Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Excessive amounts of frightening information leaves us shaking in our boots.

We begin holding our loved ones tighter and when situations like: terrorism, the shooting in Orlando, or natural disasters. We hold our breath until we’re sure that everyone we love and care about are OK.

We’re not drama queens for reacting to the changes we experience. Most people (myself included) resist change, especially when that change feels like an unwelcome visitor that just won’t go away.

So, are we drama queens?

I just think we’re human.

Perhaps the real issue that needs to be addressed is how to manage the emotions that come from the unexpected moments that break our hearts.

Own your feelings. David Bowie or Prince dying broke your heart because you are remembering the first time you heard “Let’s Go Crazy” or “Ashes to Ashes” and the way that you played it over and over again. Own it.

Do you love or hate how the election turned out? Are you frightened or thrilled by the outcome depending on your political philosophy? Own it.

Are you frightened of your own mortality? Be honest.

The most important piece of advice that I can give you is to embrace life. Embrace your loved ones. Don’t live in fear of the next shitty thing that may happen. Take each day as it comes because ultimately, you woke up that day.

I’ve had more shitty situations in my life than I would like to admit.

Some of those situations were my own fault, while other situations were the result of life happening. In every instance, I had to focus on becoming resilient and figure out ways to keep from being overwhelmed and demoralized by these situations.

But, let’s be honest, most years are a mixed bag.

At least you woke up today. Don’t take it for granted that life will always run smoothly.  And, yes, 2016 was pretty shitty.

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Did you receive participation trophies as a child? That’s not an excuse to avoid responsibility for your character.

We’re dealing with an epidemic. 

It’s one that’s received a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

What’s the epidemic?

It’s an extreme lack of character and the expectation that everyone should win in every situation.

Nope. That’s not how life happens.

Participation trophies galore.

As I kid I received participation trophies or ribbons. I remember running a one-mile race at my elementary school in Boulder, Colorado (bastion of all that is crunchy) and receiving a ribbon for participating.

That acknowledgment of my participation is only that, an acknowledgment that I was there and finished what I did.

That’s about it.

The lessons that people fear aren’t being communicated during these acknowledgments:

  • Life is hard.
  • You lose sometimes.
  • Life gives and takes unexpectedly.

Those lessons come to us all — Millennials, Gen-Xers, and all others — as time moves by. However, those lessons arrive at different moments, when you least expect it.

That is how life works.

Can you win (or lose) with grace?

Perhaps the problem people are really concerned about is a general inability to manage moments when they don’t win (or lose) with grace.

We just came out of a brutal election season.

I hope we never have an election this awful again. And, one of the most telling moments of that process was our fear that the loser would be unwilling to lose with grace.

When people who are running for the highest office in the land can’t be counted on to lose gracefully it’s time to acknowledge that we have deep cultural problems.

Character problems aren’t about participation trophies.

We have a character problem in America.

Nope, I’m not talking about a lack of fun and imaginative fictional characters. I’m talking about a depth of character that sustains people when times are tough.

Character is doing what you say, even when it puts you at odds with other people. Character is helping people perceived as weak without any expectation of receiving something in return.

What happened to us?

It’s my belief that parents (and society in general) have tried to shield people from the reality of difficult times.

We had the rise of helicopter parents and increased litigation. People stopped acknowledging when the fault for something was theirs, and their fault only.  

Basically, there is an extreme lack of responsibility for our own actions.

I received participation trophies, but those trophies didn’t eliminate my ability to take responsibility for actions that I’ve taken in my life.

Even if I didn’t want to be held accountable for the things that I’ve done or will continue to do life will hold me accountable (or karma).

How our society fails at building character.

Let’s go through a list of recent controversial situations where people weren’t held accountable for their actions until society or karma decided otherwise:

  • Bill Cosby: It was hard for me to believe that America’s favorite dad could be such a douchebag. But, apparently, he is. And, if you’re not sure about this, he did go blind (karma is a bitch). By the way, his trophy was fame.
  • George Zimmerman: This guy shot and killed Trayvon Martin and then was found not guilty. He has experienced increasing escalations of public beat downs, and altercations with other people that have found their way in the news. I’m also sure that he eats a lot of spit hamburgers. His trophy was notoriety.
  • Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio: This Arizona lawman was infamous for the prison conditions that prisoners in his jails experienced. I believe he ate a lot of spit burgers too, but he’s no longer Sheriff anymore. His trophy was power.
  • Brock Turner: You know, the guy who raped that young woman who was unconscious and was given three months and time served. Well, I remember what he looks like and I’m 100% sure he will be eating a lot of spit burgers too for the rest of his life. His trophy swimming accolades.

So, what is the point to sharing such extreme examples?

Regardless of how much we would like to protect people from the hard things that happen in life, or the bad or good choices that we make, sooner or later life happens and we all have to take responsibility for our actions.

Demand character from our public figures (and ourselves).

Participation trophies aren’t our problem.

Our ability to accept less-than-ethical behavior and lack of depth of character is our problem.

Parents, friends, and family who poo-poo this are also a part of the problem. Adults of all ages struggle with managing their personal character.

Do you keep your word to others? Do you acknowledge when you’re in the wrong? Do you intuitively know when you’re not accepting responsibility for you?

Truly becoming an adult is knowing — truly knowing — and acknowledging your role in how you’re perceived by others. You shouldn’t pass the buck to not holding yourself to a higher standard because your participation was rewarded or acknowledged when you were younger.

And it’s time we demand the same of those we look up to.

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New Year’s resolutions can be a good way to kickstart a better life. But you don’t actually need them to do amazing things.

At the end of the year, many of us review the past year and look toward the future.

Part of that process is making resolutions and setting goals for the coming year. Sometimes they are grand goals. Other times they are simple goals. In many cases, resolutions are nothing more than laundry lists of things we wish we could do or we wish we had.

At the end of 2015, I decided that 2016 would be a year of no resolutions. This was a big deal for me because I had set (and mostly kept) resolutions each year since turning 16.

But, still reeling from my divorce earlier that year, and unsure of where to go with my life next, I decided to make 2016 a year of exploration instead of one of resolutions.

And it has been glorious.

It was impossible to fail this year.

One of the downsides to setting New Year’s resolutions is that it’s easy to feel like a failure. And you feel like that failure three weeks in. It sucks.

Sure, you can set better goals or break them down into more manageable chunks. But in the end, you’re probably worried more about failing than making good progress.

All I did this year was learn about myself. I couldn’t fail. My year of no resolutions was about trying new things, figuring out my life’s purpose, and sometimes even being a complete hot mess.

My year of no resolutions meant I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I was on track to hit a milestone. And because I didn’t have to worry about failure, I went ahead and tried things I wouldn’t normally have done.

There was no bar, no benchmark, and no failure.

Just learning.

Sometimes you need to maintain.

People kept asking me what I hoped to accomplish. A few were shocked when I told them I was just about maintenance.

That’s right: 2016 was about maintenance.

It was about getting myself squared away. It wasn’t about moving forward or growing my business or even really becoming a better person.

I just wanted to maintain myself while I figured shit out.

Sometimes you need that.

I live in a world where everyone around me is pushing for more. More subscribers. More money. More conversions. More media mentions. The next course. The next product.

The next, the next. More. MORE. MOAR.

Hell, I couldn’t even keep up on my own blogs the last few months.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing. I plan to start pushing again soon. But sometimes it’s OK to slow down. To stand in one place. To get your bearings.

My year of no resolutions taught me that it’s fine to stand in one place for a little while. It’s even OK to go back to your hometown after 17 years, feeling like a complete failure, and figure out how to re-invent your life.

But you have to know where you are first.

I maintained. I did what needed to be done to earn money to feed my son. I didn’t do a bang-up job at anything, but I learned about myself, what was important to me, and my limits.

No, I didn’t accomplish anything, or impress anyone with my grand plans and ideas. But I got grounded, established a solid support system, and did it while making sure my son was properly clothed and fed.

At some point, you need to own your shit.

For quite some time, I tried to hide some of who I am. In the name of not being embarrassed or avoiding conflict, I tried to present one face to certain others:

  • I’d hem and haw about when I’d eventually get back to church.
  • I’d hedge about when I’d start looking to get married again.
  • I’d avoid questions about some of my crazier adventures.

For some reason, when I decided on a year of no resolutions, I also decided to start owning my shit.

No more excuses.

No more hedging.

And I started telling it like it is. Well, in a mostly-socially-appropriate manner. (Sometimes, when I’ve just a little extra, it means I over-share.)

Once I decided to explore who I am and what I wanted, I started realizing that I didn’t have to live for other people

Yes, I try to do nice things for people. No, I don’t go out of my way to be confrontational and make other uncomfortable. But I also don’t hide, either.

When I decided to stop making resolutions and trying to do things that aren’t really me, I let myself out a little bit.

There are some things I learned this year that I want to leave behind. And some of the things I learned about myself do need to be changed.

But it will be on my own terms.

You don’t need New Year’s resolutions to improve.

Just because I had a year of no resolutions doesn’t mean I didn’t make plans for self-improvement.

You can set goals and make efforts to improve any time of the year. You don’t need a specific holiday tradition to force it.

Once you figure out the meaning of your life, you can make changes anytime. And I love that. My year of no resolutions sort of freed me up to pursue different projects and find new ways to improve myself.

I started making changes to be healthier (well, once I stopped being a hot mess). I began brushing up on my German using a language app.

One of my friends pointed out that I seemed to be shifting from resolutions to themes for the year, and I kind of liked that idea. Last year, he pointed out, the theme was “explore.”

For the coming year, I’ve decided that, instead of renewing the resolution tradition, I’ll choose a theme. I think I’d like it to be “growth.”

There are many different ways to improve, and they don’t all follow a goal-setting formula.

I’ve had a kickass year. I’ve been able to travel, do amazing things with my son, and form new connections with really great people.

Hopefully, I’m ready for a new year. No resolutions. Just the idea that growth is the way to go for a new year.

What are your plans for the coming year?

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