Sunday, 24 July 2016

Should you follow the herd or follow your gut?

Do you know what The Big OE is? No, it isn't the title of a movie. The Big OE is a New Zealand cultural term meaning 'Overseas Experience.'

Usually young New Zealanders will graduate from secondary school or university, they will work for a few years and then go on their OE. The OE is usually located around London as many New Zealanders can trace their roots back to Great Britain and up until the 1970's New Zealanders could live in work in the UK as British citizens.

I went on an OE but I didn't go to London. Why is that do you think? I came to Japan and a few years later I am still here. I must love the place. Let me ask you the previous question again. Why didn't I follow the crowds to London?

Well, there is the answer in the question, the crowds. I didn't want to go to London because many people do it. Remember I am introverted so the whole idea of getting on a plane and joining the crowds was subconsciously foreign to me.

What it seemed to me is that a bunch of Kiwis get on a plane and go to London and revel in their Kiwiness. They live with other Kiwis and they hang out with other Kiwis at The Church (I know that it closed down) and they never really meet any of the locals and travel through Europe a lot.

"What was London like?"
"France is awesome. So many things to do."
"So, what was London like?"
"I found that Spain was warm even in the winter."
"What was London like?"
"Did you know that Morocco is only a three hour flight? I went there twice."

You see my point? That was my image anyway.

Have a look at this article and the photo from it and you will see that this kind of lifestyle is probably not the best for an introvert.


Can you imagine someone who energises by being alone or with a couple of close friends enjoying this kind of atmosphere? Hard to imagine, right?

As regular readers of my blog would know I don't have a huge number of friends but the ones that I do have I'm very close with. When I was at university it was the same, a few close friends. But I can imagine that while people are at university they are talking about their OE and a large group will end up in London at roughly the same time basically transplanting their Dunedin flat to London. I didn't have that group so I made decisions by myself and that is why I ended up in Asia instead of Europe.

Although it is interesting because I believe that both the UK and Japan are very similar. They both have long histories. They are both geographically and linguistically distinct from the continent that they are a part of.

In life you have to make decisions that you feel comfortable with and although people around you are meaning well in their advice you have to trust your gut and as Robert Frost said "Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference."

No need to follow the crowds. Be your own person and who knows, much to your chagrin maybe many other people will follow you too. That's when you become a leader and that is a totally different story all together.

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