Get out of
March 25, 2005
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Usually when we have the thought, “I’ve got to get out of
town”, we are thinking about recreation – getting away from
it all. While there is always some benefit to leaving your day-to-day
world behind, I think there is another side to “getting out of town.”
Instead of running away from the stress of your life and your job, maybe
you should think about running to something new, something interesting,
New places, people and ideas
Recently I was invited to attend the Southern California Linux Expo here
in Los Angeles. My work doesn’t usually carry me far into the Linux
world, but lately I have been exploring it on my own. I re-built an old
Windows 98 machine into a serviceable Linux Desktop and Samba server for
use here in the home office. I wasn’t sure what I was going to see
at the show, but I did know that I would see and hear about something
new to me. All of us need some fresh input on a regular basis. Too many
Windows installs, too much spyware and too many dead hard drives can leave
you wondering if there isn’t some more interesting profession out
While opportunities like this can often fall into your lap, you might
need to make an effort to expand your horizons. As I have said in the
past, your new “adventures” need not be computer-related.
In fact, I usually find I get most of them from totally unrelated events.
Do you like art? How long has it been since you visited a gallery or museum?
Music? Get thee to a concert. The outdoors? Find a nice trail and head
out. (Wear good shoes and take plenty of water, of course)
It doesn’t have to be anything big, just different -- something
outside your daily sphere. Heck, even taking a new route to work can help
spur new ideas, especially if you take the time to stop at the little
Italian market or funky coffee house you pass along the way. We can get
too comfortable with our existence and, in our careers and comfort is
not necessarily a good thing. You can find inspiration in the oddest places.
Themes for this column have been found at the local playground with my
son, hiding out in the stacks at the local library, floating on the waves
at the beach and even riding a gondola car up the flanks of Mount Etna
Does this mean that every time you step out the door you have to be focused
on new ideas, new thoughts, new ways of making your career better?. Yes,
though it is more important that you simply be open to the ideas that
can occur. That’s the great thing about new experiences. They trigger
thoughts, ideas and even changes in your life -- as long as you take the
time to notice them. Make a habit of keeping a notebook, journal or PDA
with you, no matter where you are. We often think that we will simply
remember a good idea and write it down later, but it simply isn’t
true. The idea gets subsumed by all your other thoughts and is lost. Don’t
make this mistake. You will be amazed at how many ideas you get on a daily
basis, once you start writing them down.
Don’t worry about whether the idea is good or bad. Record everything.
It is often the random idea that leads to the most fulfilling results.
I am sure that some of you think that journals are only for creative types,
but you can have a great insight about a new programming method or encryption
scheme anywhere. Wouldn’t it be great to capture that idea instead
of losing it to the past?
Looking back through my own journal I often wonder what exactly I was
thinking when I wrote something down. That said, this can be useful in
itself. Maybe the original idea doesn’t mean anything in its original
context, but today it triggers new thoughts as you look through your journal
today. Nothing is wasted.
We all feel like “getting out of town” at times. You can find
ways to expand your thinking and get a little recreation even without
shelling out thousands of dollars for a cruise or plane ticket to Hawaii.
Changing your day-to-day routine and encountering new people, new places
and new ideas is a sure way to improve your life and your high-tech career.
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