This post is on what it means to be a global citizen, what home is, how to manage languages , and on how to navigate the world as a truly mature global citizen.
Everybody might have their own meaning for what it means to be a global citizen. For me it is this.
You will only truly be a global person if you see Earth as your only home.
It is when you stop seeing countries as fixed entities, borders and restrictions that you can finally break free.
If in your mind The Earth was your home, not the country you live in, would it change your perspective on life?
In other words, would belonging to Earth, rather than to any single country or city change the way you make choices in life?
Think about this: The country borders on continents are often just conceptual borders decided by humans. Besides that there is sea as the biggest border, and even it can be crossed quite easily.
Look, There are no borders. Instead, there are doors, there are locks and there are keys. Find the doors, find the locks, find the keys.
And yes, there are good neighborhoods and there are bad neighborhoods.
What does this perspective on earth eventually mean?
It means that countries are nothing more than groups of people in a geographical location. It also means that languages are nothing more than tools for communication.
What is home?
Home is the place that you choose to make your home. Why not choose Earth as your home, rather than restrict yourself to any specific country?
Think about this example: You are not renting a room in Berlin, you are renting a room on Earth. And yes, it happens to be in what we call Berlin.
The more you get comfortable with different locations in the world, the more you adapt to those locations, and the better you can manage to live in those different locations, the more you can feel at home, no matter where you currently are on the planet. Languages can play a big role in that.
Into The Essence Of The Subject
There are many ways you can approach this subject. To make it more simple we will think in a few terms.
To understand what it means to be a global citizen, think in terms of:
Not going out of your continent, not going out of your country is the same as being shy.
It is the same as never leaving your city, never talking to strangers, and the same as being locked up in a room for weeks. The only difference is that it happens on a smaller scale. And yet, we fail to see the similarity.
It is shyness, it is living in a prison, it is living in fear. Do not be shy, do not live in a prison and do not live in fear. (I feel claustrophobic whenever I think about some people who are stuck in one place, never thinking about going out of their comfort zone. They are definitely not even aware of what can exist “out there”).
Extend your reality, extend your experiences and extend your impact. Grow into a true World Citizen.
Do not be a victim of the global circumstances. Instead, choose to take control over your life on this planet yourself.
Being global can include speaking several languages. Speaking several languages means thinking in different ways and having access to different information and opportunities. However, there are some downsides.
Think about this. Learning 5 things in one language is learning 5 things. But, learning those same 5 things in 5 languages is learning 25 things in total. This shows the complexity that speaking several languages can cause.
If you learn 5 things in 5 hours, then to learn those 5 things in 5 languages it might take you 5 times more time! ( 25 hours). This means that there will always be trade-offs.
This means that if you are speaking several languages you will need to have a distinct approach to managing the languages.
You will have to set up your life so that:
- You maintain your languages and do not forget them. This will definitely mean living a slightly unusual lifestyle.
- Each language will give you at least the same return on investment as your initial time investment was. So, for example if it took you 3 years to learn a language, you want to make sure that you will get at least 3 years of benefits from knowing the language. Otherwise it just does not make sense to learn a language for 3 years but then only use it for 1 year. That is a bad bet. The longer you intend to use a language relative to the time it took you to learn it, the better.
- Your languages are fully optimized to get the maximum benefit out of them. For example, when you learn new words, try to learn words that have to do with your future and with what you intend to use the language for. On the other hand, do not try to learn words which you do not intend to use in that language. (If you are learning a language for traveling, then do not learn work-related words. If you are learning a language for speaking, then do not focus on writing the language. Practice skills you will actually use for sure first and foremost. Then later build up the less relevant skills if necessary).
This complexity regarding languages is why a few things to think about are:
- How many people a language is spoken by?
- In how many countries that you care about the language is spoken?
- How interested are you in that language, culture, and the countries behind the language?
And just some advice: Never decide on whether to learn a language solely based on your perception of how difficult learning it will be. It can turn out different to what you think, and it never makes sense to learn a language that is easy to learn but you do not care about.
Being a global citizen might mean that your social life is a mess. That your family and friends are all across the world, so you are stuck in a place in which you do not know what to do about it.
You make many friends, you lose many friends. You have many ways to keep in touch with each person, and each person uses a different set of social networks than the other one. Your phone number changes, theirs does as well. All of this makes your head explode! I mean, how do you keep your sanity when you basically start losing control over your life like that? Time passes but your social connections increase in one location, while at the same time they decrease in another location proportionally.
That said, living global can also mean embracing new people and embracing a new way of life. You will run into many issues like trying to invite two people who do not speak any common language to the same gathering. I mean, how do you celebrate your birthday like that, when people you invite cannot even communicate with each other?
As a global citizen who does not bet everything on any single country, you will have opportunities that other people do not even have access to. Some opportunities can be language-specific, meaning that there are no such similar opportunities available to people who do not speak the language.
- Sometimes, by becoming a resident of a country you will get the benefits of paying 10 times less for some of your medical expenses (yes, it is true).
- Sometimes, moving to a new location can open up to you new countries for traveling, which before were too far away to justify the high traveling expenses to get there.
- Other times, you will get access to a way more convenient and faster infrastructure that will make getting things done a lot easier and faster.
- Some countries have an expensive currency ( GBP & CHF) and have high salaries by global standards (Luxembourg & Norway), which means relatively better deals for you whenever you get out of the country.
- Also, you might get benefits in terms of income taxes, corporate taxes and welfare.
Look at it this way: Some countries are trying to push people away and some countries are trying to attract people by setting favorable conditions. What you have to do is raise your awareness of the world and then just ride the wave and go with the opportunities while fleeing from unfavorable situations at the same time. Whatever is favorable to you will depend on your personal desires.
In addition, by going global you can open yourself up to new work and investment opportunities.
The more there is economic activity (transactions) in an area, the higher the chances that there are going to be more events happening. The bigger the population, the more events. The bigger the area of a country, the more events. ‘Events’ may be anything that is happening.
Being in a place where lots of stuff is happening can be exciting. Think about how boring it is to live in a place where nothing is happening, nothing is changing, you know everything, the internet is the only place around where something is changing and you just get bored! Being global gives you access to different events from different places. More things happening around you can mean a more exciting life.
What if there is a disaster? Yes, you can escape and have better chances of making it in other countries than a person who restricts oneself to one country. Having know-hows and experience of traveling or living in several countries means that you will be faster when it comes to escaping and adapting to changes in your circumstances. Those disasters can be economical or environmental. Being global is a means of having a safety net ready. The safety net might not even be tangible and instead mean knowledge, experience and confidence. Being immune to all kinds of external threats makes you more stable, strong and mature as a person.
By going global you will have new experiences that you would never have had access to otherwise. And since you can never take too much stuff with you whenever you travel or move internationally, experiences will always be the most precious part of life. Experiences will be within you until the day you die and nobody can take them away from you. You will learn a lot about what the world has to offer that you did not even think about. Experiences can inspire you and make you change your life for the better as a result of that impact.
Robustness: The Power To Withstand Pressure
If you choose to become a mature world citizen, everything you do will have to withstand the fact that you have gone global. You will need to create a system and focus on things that have the power to withstand the pressure from you going global.
One of these could be work. If you choose to change geographical locations, more or less the only thing common between different countries in the world will be the internet and the fact that you can use a computer. Everything else you might have to get used to from scratch. That is why, if you choose to go global, the internet will be your biggest friend.
If you become a true world citizen, you will always be a master of your own fate. It is always good to know that no matter what happens in the world, no matter the external circumstances, you will always be able to get around in the world. You will gain confidence in yourself, you will gain treasures that are elusive otherwise, and you will be able to live a life that is rich in excitement.
This is a post from The King’s Watchtower section.
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