Travel Light

Collect friends, not paper. Unplug your devices and leave them behind when you go into the marketplace. Lighten your load and free yourself up to look around, smile at people and listen.

I read a clever article one time that identified the types of people that stand in line at the coffee shop. One of the types was the "smartphone typer", or something to that effect. This is the person who stands in line surrounded by people but makes no eye contact, looks at the phone screen and types the entire time. The author made the point that this person is perhaps "hiding" from people by retreating into the comfort of their device. What an incredible observation.

I do that. I stand in a line and read my email and catch myself retreating into the comfort of my knowable world. After reading that article I now catch myself and purposely put my device in my pocket, and if nothing else, I just listen to people. The dichotomy of the two postures could not be more apparent.

A similar phenomenon happens in the workplace when people carry around a heavy load of computers, devices, paper reports, pads of paper, pens and bags. I see them moving around buildings in transit. They carry their safe place with them and then set up camp for each meeting. It is like watching them build a wall around themselves. I suppose there is something to be said for being prepared, but there is a line in there somewhere when it becomes erecting a fence.

Give yourself the okay to travel light. Tell yourself that it is approved to move between meetings with just your eyes, ears and your brain. Try it out. You may even find yourself bouncing up and down a bit before meetings or when standing in line. You are physically lighter and your mind is free to be curious. You do not have to spend all that time sifting through your paperwork, packing and unpacking or tapping away at your phone. Your mind is a million times more powerful than any device you own. Your eyes do a much better job of capturing the world around you than any camera phone lens. Take a deep breath. Smile. Look around. The ideas that come to your mind will be incredibly valuable.