Thinking of Working & Living in Paradise? Paradise conjures up different images for different people. For some, it means the countryside in Georgia; for others, it would be the small city of Valencia, Italy. Bali and Thailand continue to rate highly amongst digital nomads.
If you want to work and live abroad, you’re probably thinking of a place you’d consider paradise. But your dream destination may be an excellent destination for a vacation but may not necessarily be the best place to work.
What annoys you? Inefficiency? Noise? What would you like never to have to deal with again? Crowds, traffic jams, or snow? Write it all down on your piece of paper. So, if you’re thinking of working & living in Paradise, here’s what you need to consider.
1. Reliable internet services
Most work entails some internet usage. Digital nomads running online businesses require fast, reliable internet service.
No matter how beautiful a place is, don’t move there if it doesn’t have a great internet connection. Instead, consider visiting it, but don’t live there.
2. Residency requirements
Are you planning to live there full-time or for part of the year? If you are considering a long-term move, you must know the rules for establishing legal residency. More and more countries are providing special visas specifically for digital nomads.
3. Your free time
How would you spend your free time? Do you like the outdoors- sailing, hiking, or sailing? Or are you more interested in the arts? Gallery openings, live theatre, fine dining, or salsa dancing.
4. Would you be traveling?
Are you planning to do a lot of traveling while abroad? If that is the case, you will want to be within easy commuting distance to an international airport. Flying in and out of a remote Island can be challenging. Consider easy access to transportation when deciding where to live.
How important is it for you to access reliable infrastructures such as roads, public transportation, the internet, banks, and cable TV? On days when there is flooding,
6. The weather
Sunshine and sandy beaches do not appeal to everyone. Some skin types react to heat. What would you prefer? Sunny all year round or a place with all four seasons? What about humidity?
7. Health care
Access to good and affordable health care is possibly one of the important yet often overlooked considerations by digital nomads, especially if they are young. No one thinks a medical emergency will ever happen to them, but it can.
Do you have an existing health condition that may require medical attention? In that case, is it essential that you’re within a, say, 20-minute drive of a hospital? Do you have good health insurance coverage?
8. What are your eating habits?
Do you prefer to cook your meals or eat out? What would you miss if you were not able to find it easily? Good coffee?
9. What’s the business climate like?
Suppose you’re thinking of launching something more than an online business. In that case, launching something more than an online business, you may need to research the country’s general business climate, such as local regulations governing the industry and the quality and cost of labour.
10. Exchange Rate Fluctuations
Is there a substantial difference in the exchange rate between where you intend to work and your home country? The cost of living may be low in many places, but can you make a decent amount of money to save for when you return home? Especially if you intend to return to your home country.
But if your online business is thriving and paying you in your home currency, living in a place with a lower cost of living means more value for your money.
Would you prefer a place with a significant expatriate population, or are you comfortable building a community with the locals? Maybe the reason for living abroad in the first place is to experience a different culture.
Do you prefer to move to a place where locals speak your language fluently? Or does the idea of learning another language excite you?
If you’re self-employed, living costs would be a concern for you, especially if you’re launching a business and have little savings. But living costs should not be the only consideration. Be aware of what you may have to forgo for a lower cost of living.
What To Consider if You’re Thinking of Working & Living in Paradise?
Living and working abroad can be exciting. Five years ago, I decided to live, write, and consult abroad part-time. I knew that besides a good internet connection, heat, community, and the beach were my top priorities.
After traveling to various countries, I fell in love with the Mediterranean, particularly Greece. Besides the incredible lifestyle, it allows me to travel through Europe easily.
It gets cooler in winter, so I spend my winters in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The internet speed is excellent, and most locals speak English, although I enjoy learning Spanish. I love the warmth of the climate and its people.
Where would you like to live and work?
Do painful situations propel or paralyze you? I recall the time an ex broke up with me on my birthday! Yes, I never thought something like that could happen to me, but it did. I recall that painful two-hour drive home.
With this inexplicable adrenalin coursing through my veins, over the next few days, I wrote forty thousand words of my novel and almost finished it. Before this, I had completed twenty thousand words but left it for a few months — totally uninspired to continue. The pain of the breakup propelled me to write with such focus and intensity in a way that I had never experienced before. It brought sheer pleasure and a whole lot of healing.
Does pain paralyze or propel you?
Some of my most incredible moments of inspiration and productivity happen during times of tremendous emotional pain. Pain that appeared excruciating at the time but, in retrospect, seemed so dim in the rear-view mirror I wondered if it ever actually happened.
Pivoting from pain
What makes some people not want to get out of bed, paralyzed by the pain, while pain seems to propel them to discover a new sense of purpose for others?
I have experienced despair that made me wish I was no longer alive. I am thinking of one particular moment when I felt I was tired of trying. As I lay in bed wishing it was all over, I recall it being a fantastic learning time.
How do you develop resiliency?
When life throws curveballs and it takes us down, how do we get up yet again and make sense of it and move on? Better yet, how can we use that pain to propel us to a greater understanding of empowerment?
1. Reframe the event
While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we assign meaning to the event. Just because someone breaks up with you doesn’t mean there is something ‘wrong’ with you. Reframe the breakup; maybe, you’re just badly matched.
Replace a disempowering thought with an empowering one. Instead of thinking, “something’s wrong with me” consider, “we’re just not well matched.”
Looking back, I can say unequivocally that the breakup was the best thing to have happened. But realize you’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
2. Don’t ignore the pain
One of the worst things you can do is pretend the event never happened. Because, believe it or not, it will rear its ugly head at another time.
That same partner reached out to me at another time for comfort when they lost a parent. I thought it would have been unkind to ignore them. I let them in and recognized they had never changed.
3. Learn from it
Tony Robbins said, “there are no mistakes, only lessons.”
I had not learned from the breakup by letting them back in. But it was this time around that I finally learned the lesson. And I walked away. They made numerous attempts to reach out again, but I had learned my lesson and kept that door shut. If we don’t learn the lesson, we are bound to repeat it. And some of us take a little longer to learn those lessons.
4. Focus on your purpose for being alive
The open thing that no event or circumstance can rob you of is your purpose for being alive. You can lose everything, but you can’t lose the essence of who you are — your calling, value, and your future.
5. Take one step forward
When curveballs strike, give yourself time to recover but commit to taking one step forward. You owe this to yourself.
6. Practice self-compassion
No one can step in and take care of you the way you can. Self-compassion is a practice, not a one-off trip to the spa. Yes, go to the spa but self-care also includes how you talk to yourself, the time you take for yourself, and the boundaries you set in your relationships.
7. Reach out
Recognize you need supportive people around you when you are going through a difficult time. For example, I joined a divorce support group when my children were young. It proved to be a source of healing. If the pain you are experiencing persists, seek help from health care professionals.
Bringing it all together
Life has a way of throwing curveballs. Sometimes these can side-swipe us off our feet. Learning to develop resiliency can help us use that pain to propel us forward instead of keeping us stuck.
I recognize some of us are probably born with a greater degree of resiliency than others. And many of us could use professional help.
It takes time to heal but knowing how can help us move forward in the most empowering way we could imagine. After all, we are a product of our experiences — who we become after it is up to us.
Learning how to effectively manage conflict is probably one of the most critical aspects of a healthy relationship. Are you one who avoids conflict for fear of retaliation or rejection? Or do you take the offensive and charge head-on? I am uncomfortable with conflict, for fear I may say something I may regret. Conflicts are messy and I hate mess! And this applies to my physical space and my relationships! But life is messy!
I was raised in a home where my parents did not demonstrate a healthy way of dealing with strong emotions, let alone conflict. My dad deflected with humor, and my mother was highly emotional. But my best friend’s dad had an explosive temper, and she grew up walking on eggshells. I remember her exact words: “his explosions keep me silent.”
Most of us were not taught how to handle conflict effectively. Yet, conflict is part and parcel of life. Being skilled at handling conflict is one of the cornerstones of high emotional intelligence because disagreements are part and parcel of relationships – they can happen at work and in our personal lives.
We all approach conflict differently. How we handle conflict is influenced by our upbringing, culture, personalities, our level of self-awareness, and the current situation we’re facing.
Drs. Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann developed the famous Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument to measure people’s different styles in managing conflict. And have come up with five distinct types of how people handle conflict:
People with a competing style view conflict as a win-lose game. Their sole intent is to win an argument. We have all met people like this. Unfortunately, no one indeed “wins’ in this approach to dealing with conflict. And it just perpetuates conflict.
People with a conflict-avoidant style find conflict very uncomfortable. Some would rather bury their heads in the sand than notice a problem. Unfortunately, when we avoid conflict, the situation gets worse.
Is ‘being ‘nice’ how you approach conflict? Trying to be ‘nice’ comes with a price. While appearing agreeable and easygoing, people who are accommodating may grow resentful over time. An accommodating style of conflict management is different from an avoidant style. Someone who is accommodating would tend to give in during a conflict, whereas a person with an avoidant style would rather avoid conflict altogether.
While a compromising approach to managing conflict sounds healthier than the previous styles, it still does not address the root issues of the competition. It is merely an attempt to come in the middle.
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The healthiest approach to resolving conflict is by collaborating. When we adopt a collaborative style, we express our needs while also seeking to understand the needs behind the other person’s requests. It’s a win-win situation. This style of managing disagreements deepens relationships by building bridges — I see and hear you, and I feel seen and heard by you.
What’s your style?
While we all have a dominant style in our approach to conflict resolution, this can change depending on the relationship and greater self-awareness. I had met women who were vocal in expressing their needs and were later silenced when they entered an abusive relationship.
In observing myself over the years, I have seen myself go from a competing to avoidant and now a collaborative style of managing conflict.
If you are in a relationship with an unhealthy conflict style, it may be time to learn the skills of conflict resolution or seek help from a professional. One way to change your approach to disagreements is to practice mindfulness which creates greater self-awareness.
To discover your conflict style, take the test below.
What makes some people so irresistibly attractive? You may not have been the most popular kid in school, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn the attributes of what makes some people more attractive than others. And it is much more than about the way you look.
This reminds me of Dale Carnegie’s classic bestseller book I read years ago: “How to win friends and influence people.” So, naturally, we are attracted to different qualities, but some common characteristics make some people more attractive than others. And this is backed by science. Here are five in particular.
When they are similar to us
There is truth in the saying, “birds of a feather flock together.” We find people who share our views, interests, and attitudes more attractive than those who don’t. According to psychology, we need to reduce cognitive dissonance, a natural survival mechanism. Therefore, we are most comfortable with people with the same views.
Dissonance occurs when someone holds and expresses views that conflict with your values. For example, I recall a friend’s husband making racist comments while I was at their place for dinner. It made me sick to my stomach that I felt compelled to leave before dinner was over.
Spending time with people with similar values and beliefs reduces cognitive dissonance and conflict. They make us feel understood. And we all want to be understood.
When we are feeling happy
People who are near us when we feel happy appear more attractive. Engaging in endorphin-producing activities, such as exercise or yoga, may make you naturally attracted to the person who happens to be nearby.
And it has little to do with who they are. But everything has to do with the endorphins your body is producing. Psychologists term this as misattribution. When we are happy, we incorrectly attribute our happiness to whoever is around us, even if they have not done anything to contribute to our feelings of joy.
It’s the same feeling you get when you’re out for drinks with friends and having a great time. The people at the following table appear much more attractive even if you’re not drinking alcohol. Feeling happy makes you and others look attractive.
When they demonstrate curiosity
Curiosity is an attractive quality in a person. People who are curious about us and what we have to say are more attractive than people who show no interest in us, our point of view, or who we are. Todd Kashdan of George Mason University and his colleagues conducted a study that points to this: “Being interested is more important in cultivating a relationship and maintaining a relationship than being interesting; that’s what gets the dialogue going,” he says. “It’s the secret juice of relationships.”
If you want to be more attractive, be interested in others instead of trying to be interesting. Of course, someone who asks too many questions can be too intrusive. Read the other person’s body language. If you want to be more attractive, ask more questions.
When they reveal the right amount of intimate details about themselves
We feel closer to people willing to reveal their vulnerabilities and innermost thoughts. It shows a sign of openness which is very attractive. Mutual self-disclosure creates trust and a sense of safety, drawing people to one another. The degree of disclosure, however, is essential. Disclosures that are too intimate may reveal the person’s character flaws, thus making them less likable. However, personal revelations too early in a relationship can be perceived as a sign of insecurity, which is unattractive.
When they have a good sense of humor
To many of us, one of the most desirable qualities in a person is a sense of humor. Studies show that women perceive men with a sense of humor as more attractive. In addition, humor is a sign of intelligence.
Humor can help us bond, build trust, make people feel at ease, and allows a relationship to develop more rapidly. In addition, laughing causes a release of endorphins, which makes you feel good. So, it is no surprise that humor is highly desirable.
Like self-disclosure, the right amount and the correct type of humor are necessary. You must know your audience. If you leave people feeling good about themselves, they will like you.
They are not too easily accessible.
Economist Dr. Robert Cialdini coined the “principle of the scarcity of persuasion. And from him, social sciences also apply the principle of scarcity to explain how we find things and individuals more attractive when we cannot easily attain them. So the advice your mom gave you about playing hard to get has scientific merit – we place more value on things that are harder to get. And that includes people. If you want to attract someone, a certain level of unavailability will make you more of a mystery and a welcomed challenge.
Bringing it all together
While beauty ultimately lies in the eyes of the beholder, there are certain qualities most of us would find attractive. You can nurture these attributes. Take notice of what you find particularly attractive. And become aware of what it is about you that people find particularly attractive. People who embody attractive attributes are more likable. Becoming more appealing can help you personally and professionally in all areas of your life.
Your blind spots may hurt you, and you may not even be aware of them. Our subconscious minds make 90% of our decisions without even being aware of what we eat, how we start our day, how routinely we reach for our phones, and who we turn to for advice.
We run most of our lives on autopilot without questioning our judgments and misconceptions. But this is where our blind spots lie. Identifying your blind spots can open up your world and help you navigate your life and relationships more meaningfully.
Here are three common blind spots and what you can do about them:
You confuse excuses for reasons.
Not enough money, time, or resources. We’ve heard it all, and we’ve said it all. But if we decided to get honest, we’d see that one of our most significant blind spots is confusing excuses for reasons.
A reason is, “I cannot drive this car because it broke down.” An excuse would be, “I could not get to work because my car broke down.”
A reason implies a direct correlation between your behaviour and situation. Yes, you are wise not to drive a car that is broken down. But a vehicle breaking down should not stop you from getting to work.
Self-honesty requires courage. What’s stopping you from moving ahead in whatever you desire? Are they excuses?
You don’t know what you don’t know.
You’re convinced you’re right, and you’ll pull in evidence outside of yourself to support your belief, rather than the other way round. You’re not as objective as you’d like to believe.
We inherit an entire bag of assumptions — from our experiences, families and communities. It’s often the lens through which we view the world. But don’t confuse your worldview as being the absolute truth.
Realize that our minds don’t know what they don’t know unless you are mindful and self-aware. Try looking for evidence to the contrary to stretch your mind.
Yes, it is a scientific fact that we’re pulled to this earth by gravity or else we’d all be falling off. But it is not a fact that money is evil and that everyone’s out to get you. Learn to separate facts from your perceptions. Your perceptions are just that- your perceptions.
Unless your ideas are scientific facts, recognize that they’re your opinions. There’s a difference.
What can you do? Question your beliefs. Examine the nuances that this vast world has to offer. In other words, keep an open mind.
You believe you’re this way because you’re made this way.
People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities, talents and intellect are fixed- it’s “what they’re born with.” At the same time, a person with a growth mindset believes that their capabilities can be expanded upon with effort.
The concept of the fixed vs. growth mindset was coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychologist and professor at Stanford. This is one of the most significant blind spots for many people and is very limiting. But you can change. And the extent of that change is directly proportional to the size you believe you can change.
What can you do about this mindset? Stay curious. Ask questions instead of making assumptions. Try new things. Engage in an activity that you’ve never done before. Learn a new language, take up dancing. View challenges as opportunities instead of problems.
In conclusion — get out of your head.
In this article, we talked about the blind spots of our minds. We make a lot of our conscious and subconscious decisions using our heads. But you are much more than your mind. Learn to get out of your mind.
Start tapping into what your heart and your body say. It may sometimes be a better GPS than your mind and could lead you out of your tunnel vision.
Photo credit: Taras-Chernus-Unsplash