Travel and leisure have for a long time been used as a tool to boost creativity and expand one’s thinking. From Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain to Stefan Sagmeister and James Jean, creative professionals of all sorts have spoken to the value of travel and time off and its effects on the creative process and one’s overall state of mind.   For the past two weeks I’ve traveled through Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Naples, Positano, Capri, and Pompeii. Whether it was the incredible food and drink, the stunning sites and history, or the lovely people I had the pleasure of meeting, the experience was a great one for more reasons than I could name.  Having been home for a few days now (just long enough to kick the jet lag and the smack in the face that is reality), I have become increasingly aware of the rush of creativity I’m experiencing. In my opinion nothing leads to more breakthroughs than leaving one’s comfort zone, and traveling in a foreign country or city has a tendency to do just that.   When we travel, everything from the scenery to sounds and scents can inspire us. New foods and conversations with people from different cultures are all creative arrows to add to our figurative quivers. The newness of it all tends to force us to be more aware and observant of our surrounding. We look into every shop window, up at every piece of fine architecture and smile at each stranger that passes us by. Traveling forces us to  PAY ATTENTION .  As amazing as traveling can be for our creativity, we can apply the same principles to our daily lives at home. Being in a different location naturally increases our awareness, but what if we were to apply this same awareness to our everyday lives? Inspiration is everywhere.   I invite you to live each day like you’re traveling. Always try and observe your surroundings like a tourist, challenge yourself to constantly notice things you have never seen but driven past countless times or perhaps stop and do that touristy thing that locals are   too cool   to do.  Although the ancient streets of Rome or the golden expanse of the African wilderness may have a surplus of inspiring sights and sounds, so does your home city. You just may need to look a little harder, past the fog of repetition and familiarity.

When we travel, everything from the scenery to sounds and scents can inspire us. New foods and conversations with people from different cultures are all creative arrows to add to our figurative quivers.

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      Everyone procrastinates. Some do more than others, but to some varying degree, you and everyone you know is a procrastinator.   Procrastination is often associated with laziness which I would argue, in most cases, could not be further from the truth. I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling lazy I don’t procrastinate, I just don’t do anything. For me procrastination sometimes looks something like me organizing my bookshelf by genre and color despite having a deadline looming. Or deciding I simply can’t start work on something until my apartment is entirely spotless.  If I were procrastinating out of laziness I would NOT be scrubbing my bathtub, this I can assure you.    Fear is the driving force behind much of our idling. We often put things off to avoid the possibility of hardship or failure and we don't even know we're doing it.  The distinction between laziness and procrastination is an important one. As is often the case, understanding WHY we do the things we do is essential to improving on HOW we go about doing them.   Using this awareness and understanding, that despite our best efforts we will still procrastinate from time to time, we can design HOW we procrastinate. Need to blow off some steam before sitting down to code for 6 hours? Go for a run or play your favorite sport. Put a responsible time limit on it and go! Stuck on a branding project? Take a minute for yourself, pour a cup of coffee and work on your drawing skills.  The point is - we’re going to procrastinate from time to time no matter what. We should try our best to keep putting tasks or projects off to minimum, but when the inevitable happens, take advantage and do something of value. When you hit a wall and need a distraction don’t play video games or take a nap; exercise or do some billing, follow up with an old client or write a blog post about using procrastination to your advantage to create content for your company’s website.   Taking time away from a project isn’t ideal, but when we have to, we should do our best to not waste it. We should try our best to procrastinate productively.

Fear is the driving force behind much of our idling. We often put things off to avoid the possibility of hardship or failure and we don't even know we're doing it.

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      Ideas are not rare! Especially the bad ones! It’s all in the execution! blah blah blah.  In this current entrepreneurial renaissance, how many times have we all heard that line being spewed like it’s this profound thought, when really it's pretty much just common sense?   There seems to be this tendency or myth that if we have a great idea we should hang on and nurture it. We wait until it’s just right before showing the world. All the while, we must keep our brilliant idea quiet because if not, mean ole’ Slugworth will steal our super-secret Gobstopper recipe.  The thing is, this thinking puts us at a devastating disadvantage.   Think about it: If most ideas flat out stink, and we take more time to figure out whether that’s the case or not, simple math says the probability of coming across a good one drops.   The key to producing high-quality ideas with successful results is to actually do the work. (A lot of it.) When we do this, bad ideas tend to naturally fall aside as the good ones float to the top.   Jack London had a similar philosophy on ideas when he said “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”  The more we do the work, the better we get at what we do. We can then start to sway the odds in our favor. The key is in action and we must not get stopped by putting our ideas on a pedestal.

Ideas are not rare! Especially the bad ones! It's all in the execution! Blah blah blah. In this current entrepreneurial renaissance, how many times have we all heard that line being spewed like it's this profound thought, when really it's pretty much just common sense?

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