As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

Travelling for Personal Growth Part IV

This post is the last in a series of four posts that is accompanied by an article entitled “How to Change Absolutely Anything about Your Life in Ten Steps” that I published on eHow.com.

The Illusion

In my previous post I made the rather philosophical point that although we are largely under the control of our predispositions we generally like to think that we are guided only by our own free will. I found that not only had other people had pondered this issue, but that the whole subject of “The Illusion of Control” is actually a formal area of psychological study. Turns out that the illusion of control is necessary to our own mental well being whenever we must coexist with situations of stress. A high stakes gambler can only stomach walking onto the casino floor if they are accompanied by the illusion that somehow their luck is something they can control. Perhaps they will influence their luck by the confidence of their swagger; perhaps they will influence their luck by the colour of the tie they wear. This illusion is of great benefit in the short term for working up courage, but it’s proven to be a liability that one would benefit from shedding in the long run.

The difficulty is that we can’t pick and choose how we feel about things so that we have that swagger that is useful when we need to take a risk, and so we have the caution of turtles poking our heads out slowly of our shells when we need to be careful. A brave man will be brave even when he shouldn’t be, and a scared man will be afraid even when he shouldn’t be. We don’t reason our way into or out of emotional states so much as feel about them how we are predisposed to feel. Of course one predictable case in which that predisposition does change is when we are not at our best and feeling low.

While in general it’s true that we can’t suddenly change how we feel about things, we can certainly change our physical and emotional environment and that will in turn change our own perceptions and thus change the way we feel.

Follow Where the Moment Leads

How do we escape the overwhelming tendency to respond in ways that lead to the same negative outcomes? One way is to change our physical environment. This is where travel comes in.

Make the best of things

Make the best of things

Follow where the moment leads. You might find something you've been missing in your life.

Follow where the moment leads. You might find something you've been missing in your life.

Be open to follow where the moment leads and then wherever it takes you make sure to find ways to enjoy the best out of it.

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