7 Habits of Highly Effective Migrants - Habit 3, Break Routines

“Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.”

- Erol Ozan

The ability to feel at ease when breaking routines is extremely hard to nurture because human beings are naturally conditioned to constantly build a comfort zone by going through a daily routine that we can identify with. Without a routine, one could feel disorientated, lost or even depressed. Unfortunately, a typical migration journey subjects a person to many instances of breaking out of a normal routine.

For a start, the moment you board a plane to start a new life elsewhere is a routine break. When we were planning for migration, our conversations were filled with excitement about having a chance to start a new life and the bountiful of lifestyle possibilities that we will never achieve in Singapore. When the actual day came, our faces were grim throughout the plane ride. No words were exchanged. We were both lost in our own thoughts, wondering what would happen to us. One sure thing sure, I wasn't going to report to my office in Senoko, have lunch near my project site and join in the traffic jam along AYE on my way home. It was discomforting even though if I wasn't going to continue a routine I detested, if it made any sense.

That was only the beginning. A series of routine breaking activities beckoned such as moving from one rental unit to the other, interviews at a street I had never been, changing from a job to another, wondering where to go or what to do when my car couldn't start and so on. Breaking routines wasn't an option. It was a requirement. The only thing we could help ourselves was to condition ourselves to feel at ease during these endless transitions. To convince ourselves these crazy unforeseeable circumstances would end one day. Fortunately for us, we had a new born baby to distract us. As new parents in a new land, the merciless rigour of parenthood took most of our life force out of us, leaving us very little time to feel frightened or depressed.

The fastest way to recover from a routine break was perhaps, rebuild a routine quickly again. Every junction is a new challenge for us and it will be the same for every migrant. Every routine break is an opportunity to learn and grow. Eventually these instances will help shape your foundation in the new land. Expect endless change, embrace routine breaks.

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