4 Reasons Why Travelling Makes You A Better Social Entrepreneur
[Scroll down to read the Chinese version of this article]
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime”
– Mark Twain
Don’t let the trouble of travel arrangements or your busy work stop you from travelling. If you want to become a better social entrepreneur and a more well-rounded person, you should travel more for these four reasons.
1. A time to relax and free up your mind: Everyone needs some room away from work, and the best way to escape the stresses of work is to leave your home country for a short trip. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a resort stay in Bali or Maldives – even if you’re doing such physically demanding task as climbing Mt Everest, you’ll still be amazed by the tranquility you’ll feel once you finish the trek. Make best use of your time away to relax and disconnect from your daily life by limiting the use of your mobile devices during the trip
2. A chance to learn from other social entrepreneurs: Going elsewhere gives you a direct opportunity to find out how your business is conducted in a different manner, a picture that is far from complete when you simply browse online. A restaurateur, for instance, may be interested to know how others’ menus or decors are designed whereas a fashion designer will get to see the latest trends and techniques from clothes in local boutiques. This means you can learn from the better and avoid the worse.
3. To experience another culture: To experience cultural shock is often a good way for you to prepare yourself for challenges that lie ahead, which is an inescapable part of a successful social entrepreneur. Being lost in translation or in location, for example, allows you to exercise keen decision-making skills to continue your journey, a clarity and calmness of the mind akin to what is needed in the face of business challenges.
4. To gain new perspectives on old issues: Staring at your computer screen and sitting in an office all day can make you lose touch with the people around you. Being insulated by work can often make people forget that their businesses can bring positive social impacts to society and not just high profit margins. Traveling allows you to reconnect with people and gain new perspectives on old issues.
Many social enterprise founders, such as Bosco Ng of WEDO Global, travelled the world and gained a better understanding of its vast history and cultures, before setting up his shop.
Various business of different sizes create corporate social responsibility initiatives or community interest companies to maximise social impact instead of profits. For example, the DBS Social Enterprise Advancement Grant provides funding and incubation support to budding social entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, to turn their dreams into business reality, and to develop innovative yet feasible solutions in solving social problems.
Learn more here: https://dbsse.hkcss.org.hk/en
- 放下工作煩惱，讓腦袋休息- 沒有人不需要在工作以外享受悠閒的時光，而最徹底的就是索性離開一下你工作去一個短程旅遊。享受不一定指巴里或馬爾代夫這一類陽光與海灘的度假天堂，就算你選擇攀登喜馬拉雅山這樣體力勞動的目的地，你在完成攀山的過程後，也定能感受心靈的寧靜。盡量讓自己在旅程中放鬆，當然也不要只顧著手機上網。
- 向其他社會企業家學習- 外出旅行，你可以直接把自己的行業拿來跟外國的比較一番，這是你上網瀏覽所不能看清楚的。例如一個開餐廳的朋友，可以鑽研別人的餐牌和裝飾有何分別。又例如從事時裝設計的，可以從其他地方的時裝店裏，觸摸到最新的技術。簡單來說，你可以更直接接觸到外國的體驗，從更好的例子學習，從比自己差的例子吸取教訓。
- 體驗文化衝擊- 從旅行中體驗文化衝擊可以考驗你如何應對未來的挑戰，這當然也是任何一位成功企業家必不可缺的條件。不管你是語言障礙還是走失了路，你都必須運用你的即時反應，完成旅程，就像企業遇上挑戰時，你也需要保持冷靜，迎刃而解。
- 新角度看社會議題- 整日只對著電腦屏幕和坐在辦公室會令你與世隔絶。太專注在工作上許多時會令人忘記賺取金錢利潤以外，企業對社會的正面影響。旅遊讓你重新與人聯繫，並再審視一些社會議題。
許多社會企業家如 WEDO Global 的Bosco Ng在創業之前也曾到不同的國家旅遊，體驗各地歷史與文化。
If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.
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