Yesterday, the two most important women in my life left to go travel.
My wife went to visit her parents in Canada.
And my mother, a professional painter and photographer went on a photography trip to Myanmar with Steve McCurry, the man who took the famous ‘Afghan Girl’ photo back in 1984.
As I came back from dinner with the other stay-at-home man in the family – my father – I couldn’t help but reflect on just how lucky we were.
My entire life, my parents have paved the way for me to travel and explore.
Before I was 10 years old, I had been to China, Australia, Greenland, and Tanzania – among many others.
And when I was 24, my parents packed up their bags and left the luxury of their Swiss life to go work on an isolated tropical island in one of the least developed countries in the world – Papua New Guinea.
They invited me to come and work with them – and it changed my life forever.
After Papua New Guinea, I sought the mentorship of someone who had done what I wanted to achieve – travel the world, build businesses and invest internationally.
I spent a significant amount of resources finding that person, and when I did, I spent years following his guidance, to the letter.
Today, my life is substantially richer because of it. Not just financially, but also because of the things that I’ve done, the people that I’ve met, and the ease with which I feel at home almost anywhere.
In fact, traveling has opened up my world more than almost anything I can think of.
So when I talk to people about opportunities or insights around the world, I often get asked: “where do you get all your information from?... how do you know this?”
And I say the exact thing that my parents have told me all my life - and that my mentor cemented in me: by getting your boots on the ground and seeing it firsthand.
You see, although it often seems like it – the world doesn’t live on the internet, or on TV.
Instead, it lives in people, doing the things people do.
And if that sounds simplistic, it’s a concept that needs constant reminding.
Most people get their information from just a handful of online resources, that almost all say the same thing, and are dominated by just a few opinions.
They cram your head with two to five ideas that they believe should be on the top of your mind.
And when you hear those ideas and messages everywhere around you, they become the dominant thoughts that dictate your outlook on life.
In short, you get trapped in a mental focus dictated by someone else.
But if you’re looking to lead a different life, and get insights nobody else has, you need to expand your mind beyond the confines of what everyone else is doing.
You need to change your focus to look for opportunities and jump feet first into the real world – outside of the headlines of the day and your own comfort zone.
Every morning, a vast majority of the world’s 7.53 billion people get up to be productive and work on or do cool things.
The best way to get insights nobody else is getting – and find opportunities most people miss – is to go out of your way to meet these people.
Find out what they’re doing, and understand how their paradigm of what’s possible is different from yours.
By doing this, you open up your world to see things you wouldn’t otherwise have believed are real, or possible.
It’s what I’ve done all my life and the one thing I recommend everybody to do if you really want to lead a rich life.
My mum’s trip to Myanmar with Steve McCurry is such a great example. She’s been told in advance that her schedule can change any day without notice, because Steve may discover opportunities to take incredible photos in completely unforeseen places.
These moments aren’t planned in advance, but judging by Steve’s incredibly successful 40-year career, they are where the real gems are captured.
Opportunities like these aren't found by googling "where to take great photos", but in the unpredictability of the real world, by taking action and being in the moment. To me, they’re the beauty of life.
So go out there, get on a plane if need be, figure out what’s really happening, and open yourself up to the opportunities of life.
It could be one of the best things you ever do.