5 Characteristics of Successful Expats Living Abroad
Our personality traits and characteristics are what makes us unique as individual entities. Yet, in his book, Robert Wright, a professor of science and religion says humans are designed by natural selection to be unhappy and disillusioned. This is because we always want something different and something more.
The positive flipside to this constant need for more is that we naturally want to broaden our horizons. Since the 1960s, the rise in popularity of travel, from the local town beach to the exotic destinations fitting of a block busting novel reflects this. In the last 15 years, this wanderlust for travel has also sparked a new trend of living abroad and many people dream of retiring to a life in the sun.
There are exceptions. Not everyone wants to move to another country where the language, system, culture and people are foreign to them, whether this is because of fear or a direct rebuttal of Robert Wright in that humans can be content with what they have. For those who do make the move though, certain characteristics decide whether they will succeed in their new journey of life.
Since Turkey is the country, let's talk about living in Turkey and our small tips for the expats in Turkey.
5 Characteristics of Successful Expats
1: A Keen Sense of Curiosity
Before an expat even steps on the plane, it is an intense sense of curiosity that gets them considering a new life abroad. It is the question of whether they can find somewhere that feels like home. It is the underlying desire that Robert Wright mentioned in whether there is something more to life, something that fills us with more pleasure than we have already experienced.
The search for answers to this curiosity leads them to move countries and in the beginning stages of their new life, their curiosity stands them in good stead as they learn as much as possible about their new abode. A successful expat is always curious and wants to know more. They question locals, other expats and seek professional advice. They never stop learning.
This characteristic mostly shines through during the beginning stages of a move abroad. Whether it is buying or renting a house, the procedures and legal laws that are entirely different from the expats home country need navigating with an open but aware mind. Likewise meeting the neighbours and making friends with the locals, when both of you speak different languages, leads to improvised communication.
This is no time for routine or staying within your comfort zone. This is when the expat needs to be as flexible as possible so they can settle gently into their new home without ruckus or upset. Once an expat has done this, many like the flexibility and the allowance it gives to doing what you want, when you want, even on a whim.
3: Financial Awareness
There is a significant difference between financial stability and financial awareness. Being financially independent is an exceptional lifetime achievement, but it is NOT a get-out clause for budgeting and managing money effectively. Prosperous expats in Turkey know they are dealing in two currencies, that of their home country and in the Turkish lira.
Thriving expats have their bills, both in their countries of origin and in Turkey, managed and paid on time. They know the cost of living in Turkey and shop around for bargains, deals and the best prices, rather than paying out just because it was cheaper than their home country. They are consciously aware of how, when and where they spend their money.
4: They Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Busting out of your comfort zone by living abroad actually makes you extremely tolerant to “what is.” Flexible expats pick their battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. The culture differences between them and their new local friends, don’t matter because they actually learn much more from them in the long run.
If the corner shop rips them off on a purchase, they stick it down to experience and just never go back there again. The successful expat knows that locals are culturally late and factor that into their day. Living abroad automatically provides you with a sense of the big picture and people who want to stop micro-managing their lives benefit hugely from this.
5: A Powerful Sense of Self-Awareness
Any expat who successfully navigates the uncertainty of their new life develops a characteristic that is considered by experts to be crucial to a life worth living. Self-awareness refers to a conscious knowledge of your own feelings, like and dislikes. So, what does this mean for expats?
They question the status quo and rather than being a follower, become apt at crafting for themselves a life designed around their pleasures. Confident expats are often found in pleasurable pursuits, whether this is only walking in nature, photography, golf or art. Still tapping into the curiosity characteristic, they are also adventurers and often head away for a weekend break to discover more about their adopted country.
They make friends with the flawed side of their character and tend to look at the glass as half full instead of empty, therefore releasing any expectations of what a dream life in the sun should look like. These are the expats, that when you talk to them about the country, they left behind, will say “home is where the heart is.”