“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”Henry David Thoreau
As we continue to take on more in our lives, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. At these times, we often find ourselves slipping into ‘autopilot.’ The IMD MBA program is an all-out learning sprint which pushes students to limits; I think I can speak for all my classmates when I say that it was overwhelming at times. It’s at times like these that we can feel trapped in the busyness of needing to get everything done and switch into a mode of unconsciously laboring through tasks. To put it another way, we start living on autopilot.
Although it serves its purpose, being on autopilot can prevent us from appreciating the beauty of everyday life. For me, part of the IMD journey is to learn outside of the classroom – exploring different cultures and life in a new country. Fortunately, there have been many opportunities to take the wheel, switch out of autopilot, and find quality experiences in and around Switzerland.
Within Lausanne, there is a great selection of restaurants. Students have taken opportunities to share meals and explore new cuisines. But what is even richer is sharing home-cooked meals with classmates. Our friend Diego Barrientos has many hidden talents, one of them is being a great chef. He has taken the time to share his native Peruvian cuisine with classmates on multiple occasions. These moments provide a great way to slow down, connect over a nice meal, and appreciate the similarities and differences in our respective countries’ cuisines.
One chilly Sunday in February, I decided to make a trip to the Cailler Chocolate Factory. On spontaneous trips like this, you never know what you might learn. My favorite fact was that “The Pope played a major role in proliferation of chocolate throughout Europe when he declared drinking chocolate to not be considered breaking fast.”
After our Module 1 exams, many students organized weekend getaways in the surrounding area. I was fortunate to travel to Milan, Italy alongside several of my new friends. Experiencing a new city, new culture (and great food!) together is an excellent way build deeper connections.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to make excuses to not explore and try new things. Why take a spontaneous trip to a chocolate factory or only go to Milan for 36 hours? To answer this question, one quote from our Entrepreneurship Class has stuck with me.
“You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.”Steve Jobs
Creating experiences these may not have a clear, tangible purpose today; but I know that looking backwards we will have led to richer life. Thus far, IMD has been a challenging and rewarding journey and, despite the workload, has provided opportunity to switch off autopilot and explore.