As you know if you are a Value Talks podcast listener, I try to live every day with a focus on my purpose in life, and as a parent, I try to instill that same sense of purpose in my children. It can be easy to slip into a daily routine where you forget about the larger world and your place – and purpose – in it. One of the ways that I try to combat that is to use vacation time as a way to get out of the normal routine, and experience different places and different cultures. This change provides a broader perspective that is difficult to gain other ways.
I know that my children will be better able to find their purpose in life and live that purpose the best they can if they have as much information as possible about the world itself, so I recently took my two youngest children on a trip to London and Rome. I selected London in particular because of its role in shaping who we are as Americans. We all know that America was originally ruled by the British, but London played a special role: the majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence came from 100 miles radius of London. It was a great experience to teach them about how British parliament works and the differences between a parliamentary democracy and the representative democracy that we have in the United States. What are the similarities and what are the differences? How did one beget the other?
The other thing I tried to impress on them is the age of our country relative to the rest of the world. It’s easy to think of 1776 as so long ago, but when you’re in London with institutions that are four times as old as our country, it hits you how really young our country is. What’s the significance of that? Well, if you’re going to live your purpose, you need to know how the rest of the world has gone before you. You need to be able to think about what’s different now and how you shape that.
“Vacation” is not something people usually associate with meaning and insight. But part of living with purpose is to continually seek new insights and integrate them with your own life. I invite you to introduce that concept into your next vacation – even a little bit – and see the benefit it brings to your personal and professional life.