Although it might seem counterintuitive, travel is a key educational tool for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs and has prompted the formation of many successful companies. Well-known business leaders have gained inspiration through the act of travel, including entrepreneurs such as Logan Green of Lyft, and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS.
For both Green and Mycoskie, international adventures helped spur them towards the creation of industry-altering companies. By finding new perspectives through travel, they were able to redefine business models and satisfy customer needs in new, ingenious ways.
Outside of being a lot of fun, travel can be an essential part of an entrepreneur's development. Travel helps develop important business characteristics, allows access to psychological benefits, and enhances the entrepreneur's problem-solving abilities.
There are many ways travel can enhance the skill-set of an entrepreneur. Here are five travel-related benefits will serve you well in business and life.
Creative inspiration - Travelling to international countries, and especially living abroad, can expose a person to new ideas, or highlight new solutions that exist to problems in your home country. By looking at the world through a different lens, you can see more broadly, and this trait will serve you as an entrepreneur. Scientific studies also suggest that multi-cultural learning leads directly to enhanced creativity.
- Reading people - In other countries, where language barriers often exist, a traveler must learn to read situations, as well as human body language, to communicate and accomplish tasks. Learning how to read people is a useful business skill gained by spending time in foreign environments.
- Patience and perseverance - Accomplishing simple tasks can take much longer and may require a lot of patience when traveling in a new place. Being outside your comfort zone forces you to learn and apply new skills very quickly. The ability to remain patient, and the agility to quickly learn, adapt, and implement new skills, will serve you well as an entrepreneur.
- Recharging - When you're stuck on a tough business issue, sometimes taking time off is the best course of action. Travel is a great way to disconnect and give your mind a break. This time is necessary because much of creativity is related to neuroplasticity and the wiring of your brain. Travel exposes the brain to different sights and sounds, creating new synapses that can revitalize creativity.
- Open-mindedness - Travel forces us to reassess previously held assumptions, especially on a cultural and racial level. Travel breaks down the division we see between people, enhancing our ability to see the fault in stereotypical thinking. While this idea may seem simple, it has a strong correlation to our creativity. A study by Tel Aviv University found that individuals who "believe that racial groups have fixed underlying essences" perform worse in creative tests than those who see cultural and racial division as arbitrary.
Beyond all the enjoyable and exciting elements of travel, there is much to be learned from traveling that will benefit your business career. So take that time off, pack your bags, and continue your education somewhere new. In the long run, the skills of a seasoned traveler will give you a better chance to succeed in business, or might even inspire your next big idea.