After we were done with our meetings (and fun) in Tokyo, we had the chance to pop down to Kyoto and then over to South Korea for a few days. Three cheers for a travel bonanza!
Something about this round of travel was particularly gratifying.
Across all of our destinations, we had to figure a lot of stuff out in complicated, completely foreign environments.
We loved it and actually grew to thrive on it in a borderline demented way.
Don't get e wrong, we're pretty regularly in foreign environments, and we hold up well. But we can also get lazy. As part-time travel writers, we often pick up assignments for which we have to do very little thinking. Oftentimes, things have been planned down to the minute and – at the very least – we have tons of resources to reach out to for help if issues arise. Easy!
It's how life and work tends to be for most people. Gravity pulls us toward getting comfortable, taking the path of least resistance, and sort of expecting that things will be wrinkle free.
Jeez, talk about first world problems.
Much of the business consulting we do focuses on change and the difficulty that people and workgroups have when it comes to looking at things differently or, perhaps, working differently. We know this demon well and wanted to use this opportunity to keep ourselves in check.
Which brings me back to Tokyo and what inspired this post.
So we heard about a cheesecake place in Shinjuku (just the *busiest* transportation / shopping / commercial hub in the world), and we were determined to not leave without trying it.
Because cheesecake. We're obsessed with it.
We set out one evening to find it and encountered reason after reason after reason to give up. Crushing crowds, claustrophobic congestion and traffic, major map confusion, neon-light-overload. The list goes on.
But, after over 2 hours and many wrong turns, we found it: Bake Cheese Tart.
And the little cheesecakes were divine. Definitely "top 5" we've ever had.
So here's the part that's borderline psychotic. For the remainder of our trip, we sort of thrived on putting ourselves in potentially mad-making situations. Daily.
Going into deeply embedded, locals-only, protocol dripping ramen shops and just going for it.
Figuring out every wacky machine imaginable, including getting directions from a robot.
Multiple-connection metro excursions.
And, most humorously, not only figuring out a local gym/spa but also awkwardly learning that we could not wear the clothes we had but, rather, having to wear a uniform.
The brand of "figuring things out" we're talking about is more involved than simply tackling new situations. It's about getting comfortable living in the uncertainty of situations, letting things unfold, and responding in the moment. Pushing beyond the routine of trying something new and backing down the moment discomfort surfaces.
We'll leave you with these reasons to embrace this challenge.
–It's the biggest confidence booster ever. As in "I tried. I did not die! I want to try it again."
–Even if you fail, you're failing forward.
–It strengthens life/career muscles that benefit you beyond what you're tackling in the moment.
Now, excuse me while I research the next terrifying situation that I suggest we put ourselves in.