While I gained a wealth of experience, three years of living in a densely populated concrete jungle keenly taught me three things.

1. The value of community

Most of Asia revolves around group-culture. People interact socially and economically in groups. This is in contrast to our western proclivity for individuality.

Group culture gives connection to people.
Group culture creates space for social advancement.
Group culture empowers transparency.

There is significant value in groups.

We live in a world hungry for connection. We’re isolated, lonely, depressed and medicated to believe we’re happy.

Instead of Friday night binge-watching Netflix, what if we had a regular place of connection within a wider community?

What if we stopped lying to the world (and ourselves) that we’re perpetually happy?

Our Instagram posts about the greatness of our collectives lives is in stark contrast to our record high anti-depression prescription statistics. Something in this equation is lying (and I think it’s ourselves)

What can you do to build a group of friends? To connect? What if you spent more time, with more people, face-to-face instead of Facebook?

2. The value of silence.

Every commuter train I rode on in Taipei had at least 2000 people on it. I counted.

Being so densely populated, Taipei runs 24/7. Lights. Noises. Smells. It’s a beautiful cacophony of life.

I loved the fullness of life in the Taiwanese people.

Yet I learned there is something magical about silence.

On hot muggy nights, I watched as old Taiwanese men sat outside and seized the silence of the night.

The silence to think.
The silence to reflect.
The silence to plan and to look expectantly into the future.

We must not neglect to create space space for silence in our lives.

I confess, I’m quick to fill my life my noise. The moment there is a lull in a conversation, I pick up my phone to check social media and the news.

I unnecessarily “busy” myself.

What might happen if we learn to be silent?

What innovation might we explore by spending 15 minutes staring out the window undistracted?

How can we create space for silence in our lives?

3. The value of green.

Taiwan is an incredibly beautiful country. While the cities are densely populated, they’re mostly along the western coast. Roughly two-thirds of Taiwan is mountainous. Beautiful greenery abounds.

I learned green space helps me recharge. Trees, nature, and the sound of waterfall in the mountains all help in lowering my stress.

I spent every weekend I could, out on my moto, exploring the mountains (I only had one moto accident).

We need to be in nature. Not all the time, but definitely with some regularity.

Whether it’s a park in the city, or a national forest, or a farmer’s field, we need to get out in the green.

Even now, as winter drags on in the USA, I look longingly for the new green growth. There is life — and less stress — when I see the green coming.

When was the last time you got out into the green?

When and where can you go green, or at least out into the fresh air, next?

If you’ve never been to Taiwan, I highly recommend you visit. It’s the hidden jewel of Asia.

And I bet you’ll learn something there too.

Originally published at medium.com