Lifestyle Travel

Can we apply the England team World Cup mentality to world travel?

We all know that England did not win the World Cup in 2018, but they did very well. This gave England fans something to dream about and brought English people together, but how did they achieve it?

Well, team manager and ex-football player Gareth Southgate employed psychologist Pippa Grange to help the men to achieve success. She has said that she isn’t afraid to fail and their success owed a lot to the methods she had taught them.

One of the main objectives was for the players to create their own stories, which is essentially what travel is all about. All travellers tell each other stories and positive thinking can help to create a more fulfilling trip.

I have several mental health problems which naturally like to come with me around the world. I can manage these uninvited guests as I’ve had psychological treatment, but can travellers like me learn from Pippa’s methodology?

Grange’s 5 tips for success from Emine Saner’s great Guardian article can be found here: How the psychology of the England football team could change your life.

How Grange’s 5 tips for success can be applied to travel fears:

1. ‘Don’t fear failure’

This is always a good place to start when on embarking on a project or adventure. Exposure to a bit of fear can be a good thing as long as it isn’t overwhelming. Some days you will be ripped off or you’ll be frustrated when you can’t see or do the things you’d like to experience.

Travel, like the rest of life, means failure in terms of making mistakes and the difficulty of making the right decision. If things change, for whatever reason, that’s fine and you don’t need to beat yourself up. No matter how much research you do, you cannot control everything.

2. ‘Reframe emotions: you’re not “nervous”, you’re “excited”’

When you embark on a trip, everyone asks you if you’re excited, which is perfectly normal and you’d be surprised if they didn’t. Sometimes, nervousness is more prevalent than euphoria but you can work through that. I felt very nervous about trekking to Everest Base Camp but when I started doing it, I turned the fear into more positive emotions.

Even though things went wrong, actually worse than I feared, I could handle them better than I thought. I think the challenge of travel and the nature of doing new things means that you focus more on the moment.

3. ‘Focus – positively – on the steps that could get you to your goal.’

What it feels like everything is going wrong, it’s easy to focus on the negatives – especially when the things you are looking forward to don’t happen. My boyfriend had his bag stolen in India and we had to cancel places on our trip that I had dreamed of going, like Amritsar and Bikaner but we saw other things instead.

I ended up going to Goa while I waited for him to return with a new passport. I made friends and had a great time with them on Palolem Beach for a week, something I wouldn’t have done otherwise, but I’m glad I did.

4. ‘Treat your employees/children/customers as individuals. Different approaches will work for different people.’

You could apply this to cultural differences to a degree. You’re meeting people from difference cultures whether they are local or foreign and in communication it’s important to take them into account. This also helps to avoid offending people and any negative experiences created as a result of miscommunication. Even though we’re all fundamentally the same, we have differing cultures and methods of communication that go beyond language.

5. ‘Kindness, listening and empathy will take you further than barking orders.’

This is more to do with effective communication than anything else, which is important if people are telling you person things or information that are worth hearing about. It’s will also help you to connect with fellow travellers.

In many ways taking her advice about kindness, empathy and using different approaches doesn’t so much make you a better traveller, as it does a better human.

As a nervous or reticent traveller you can learn a lot from finding solutions to problems in a positive way, thinking of yourself as excited instead of worried and not being afraid during the times you’ll fail. The psychology that can lead a football team to success can help you to have a more psychologically rewarding and therefore, fulfilling trip.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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