The Expat and Newton´s Laws of Motion
Updated: Mar 23
We will look at Newton´s laws of motion for a second and realize what an incredible chance it is to be an expat, to move to a new country and to be in motion. You may think what have Newton´s laws of motion and my expat life in common? Well, we will get to that in a minute.
We have talked about the struggles of being an expat before, but today we want to focus on this incredible opportunity that if you are an expat are experiencing this very minute and how you can make the most of it.
Do you remember anything about Newton´s laws of motion? Here is the first one:
Newton´s first law of motion:
An object of rest will stay at rest, and an object of motion will stay in motion,
unless acted on by a net external force.
In other words, objects will keep on resting/or staying in motion unless an outside force changes that and the stronger the outside force, the bigger the impact.
Now, take this law and apply it to your life, to your parents lives, to your co-workers lives. Would you say that we as humans also keep on doing what we always have been doing unless there is some influence from the outside? Do some of us keep on eating the same food just because we have always been eating it? Do some of us keep treating our spouses and children the same way we have been treating them for years? Do some of us keep doing our job in the exact same way that we were doing them yesterday? And the answers to those questions are always for better or for worse.
People sometimes describe their lives as "I am stuck in a hamster wheel" meaning they are doing the same things over and over again feeling like they are not getting anywhere.
What would need to happen to change that? Well, according to Newton´s law of motion: an outside force has the ability to change the status and the stronger the force, the stronger the impact.
I give you an example: let's assume someone has been eating mostly unhealthy food. What may pursuade him or her to change those eating habits? A shocking diagnosis from a doctor? A new found love? A new found purpose? The loss of a friend or family member?
So far, we can summarize that we as humans also like to keep on doing what we have been doing and that it takes some kind of force to change that.
Now I would love to hear your thoughts on if you think that change is necessary, that it is a good thing and that it will bring you personally forward or if you prefer stability, routine and similar procedures.
No matter how you would answer this question one thing is for sure: the moment you decide to embark on an expat adventure you are leaving the hamster wheel. You are saying yes to a process that has the ability to change your life. You will experience a huge push. An outside force, namely the new country and all it has to offer, will force you literally into a different direction.
Depending on the country you will experience such a big force that it will impact so many of your daily routines. But how?
Let´s have a look at Newton´s second law of motion:
Newton´s second law of motion:
The rate of change of momentum of a body over time is directly proportional to the
force applied, and occurs in the same direction as the applied force.
As you can see, physics may not apply to all parts of the expat life, because while the first part of the second law of motion may be true; that the bigger the culture shock (in other words the bigger the outside force), the bigger the impact on your life, the second part does not apply to real life. Change won't necessarly happen in the same direction as it is applied. You may not stop eating with a fork and a knife, because you are suddenly surrounded by people who eat with chopsticks, but you sure can.
It is up to you how to deal with the outside force, in our case the expat experience, to use it for your own growth. Keep in mind that just because we may be in motion, doesn't necessarily mean that we are making progress in the right direction nor automatically turning into the person who we want to become. It takes effort.
NEVER CONFUSE MOTION WITH ACTION.
- Benjamin Franklin -
And this is where coaching comes in, because it is so valuable to have someone on your side where you can allow yourself to open about the changes that this expat lifestyle has brought to you and to figure out how to use it in the best possible way.
The expat adventure will give you a huge push, but it is up to you how this push impacts you.
COACHING because the expat life forces you to be in motion.
Most people don't like change, the unfamiliar, the unknown, because it makes us uncomfortable and can hit our inner core, yet, isn't it such privilege to be forced to rethink your actions even your own opinions from time to time and to get out of the hamster wheel, to see the world with new eyes, to be in motion?
So many repatriates describe that once they are back everything is so normal, monotonous, repetitive and often boring and that they miss all the excitement and adventure that was part of the expat experience. I encourage you to take a minute and to reflect on your own journey. How could you use this big push that the expat lifestyle is presenting you in the best possible way?