BY: KAROUN CHAHINIAN
When not distracted by cheap souvenirs, travelling has the power to give you a competitive advantage when it comes to creativity.
Many people are convinced that they return from a trip as a completely different person, while their friends and family may think this feeling is just the result of jet lag, they do actually experience changes in personality. According to a social experiment done by the American Psychology Association in 2011, travel has the power to re-shape your personality over a long period of time. The study consisted of two groups of German students, one studied abroad and the other studied from home. Prior to the study, every student was asked to take a test that measured the “Big Five” personality aspects: openness to experience, agreeableness, extraversion, emotional stability and conscientiousness. After returning, they retook the test and Julia Zimmermann and Franz Neyer concluded that the students who chose to study abroad returned higher in all five categories.
Travel has the power to re-shape your personality over a long period of time.
Travelling is steroids for creativity.
According to a paper by William Maddux, Hajo Adam, and Adam Galinsky in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, “learning that the same task (getting a snack) has different solutions is a hallmark of creativity. Living in another culture and learning the practices of that culture may enhance the psychological processes that make people more creative.”
Multicultural engagement— new sounds, tastes, ideas ignite synapses within the brain.
According to Adam Galinksy, a professor at Columbia Business School and the author of multiple papers on the connection between travel and creativity, “the key, critical process [of creativity] is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.” This is because travel increases intelligence by forcing humans to process foreign information faster. This means that sitting on the beach at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico won’t make you more creative. But going to Chiapas and embracing the local culture will.
The catalyst to creativity is not the miles travelled, it’s the culture shock endured.
As Mark Twain puts it “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”