Respect Inversions

Vacations, perhaps especially on tropical islands, create inversions of our normal routines.

Instead of a steady block of workdays being punctuated by weekend breaks, we loll in continuos leisure, perhaps interrupted occasionally by the odd email or call that needs immediate servicing. Then, when the weekend arrives, it's time to head back home… and to work.

"Always on" is replaced by "I'm away".

Cocktail hour can start early and extend across lazy afternoons without one feeling a lush.

Travel far enough and time itself inverts from that held by our body clocks.

These inversions are the essential charm and character of vacations, and should be respected as such.

I came to think of this today when I found myself sitting in my poolside cabana, wirelessly connected to email, Facebook, Twitter, this blog, a mind-mapping program I've been using to capture thoughts on personnal planning and an idea database program I use to maintain my Getting Things Done disciplines… oh, and The Matrix was playing on the flat panel TV overhead. If my IPhone display hadn't failed the other day, I'm sure that I would have also been fiddling with a half dozen Apps.

Wait a minute!

Well, there's an App for vacation: close the laptop, turn off the TV, smile at your wife, laugh at yourself for getting sucked in, order a frozen refreshment and crack open a book. Worked like a charm.


Yesterday, I wrote about introspection and pending career choices. Here's a first pass list of some of the things I've noted in the process so far, about myself and work life:

  • In my experience, laughter and success are almost perfectly correlated.
  • I do best when working around intellectually honest people entirely commited to winning.
  • I'm happiest when pushed to the max by team members better than I at what they do.
  • I'm more creative than I give myself credit for.
  • I get bored with routine a bit too easily.
  • Trust but verify — do your homework before buying, or joining a new venture.
  • When applying successful approaches from past situations, be careful to respect the differences between then and now.
  • Successful businesses make money by doing hard things well; beware however the power of tides and prevailing winds — go against them only after careful consideration.
  • I've learned over time not to complicate things too much. Corrolary: If you don't focus on the one or two most important things, you're dead.
  • Business is mostly about those warm squishy things called people.
  • There are times to look at the half full part of the glass, and others to see the empty part; know the difference.
  • Mistakes can be made from arrogance, and from weakness.
  • It's impossible to have too many smart people around you.
  • Once a team's culture is formed, it's exceedingly tough to change (for better or worse).
  • Immediately confront people problems that can corrode culture.
  • Knowing when to make a business decision is often as important as how to make it; my judgement in both is pretty good.
  • Fast progress is better than slow perfection.
  • Winning is a great antidote to most problems; success feeds on itself. (Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.)
  • I work best with people sharing a common sensibility (tests: Do they laugh at the same jokes as me? Do they care enough to get angry?)
  • To be happy and successful, I must have a deep and genuine passion for what I'm doing.

Abridged Version

Spend time thinking about where you’ve been before setting out for where you’re going. I have, and it’s working out, so far. Time for a Mai Tai.

Back to long winded version


Before heading out for the evening (Sushi), I thought to capture a small moment in paradise. Rustling palms. Listen and look…