In my endeavor to reconcile the pragmatic application of human performance and the primal requirement for the outdoors I’ve discovered the essential as well as the unconventional: the packable and transportable workplace.

I work outside, not the kind of “feel good” getting back to nature outside, I’m talking about natural and compulsive need for the outdoors, changes in scenery and straight up hardcore relaxation. That’s right… “hardcore” relaxation.

You don’t need an excuse to work outside, but, if you want one here it is:

In today’s economy we compete with our ability to discover and create. To accomplish this we rely on a very scarce, fragile, and internal resource commonly referred to as attention. There are two types of attention to consider here. The first type is called “committed attention” – focus on something to intentionally produce a result. This could be anything from curing cancer to replying to a text message. The other type of attention called “free attention” – no focus on the production of anything. Though you’re not honed in on producing something specific, production still occurs: ideas, emotions, inspiration and/or rejuvenation.

Neither type of attention is more valuable than the other, but they must be kept in harmony with one another. Consider an athlete working to produce or achieve a gold medal. The commitment requires attention and active training to build endurance, muscle and skill equally as much as the need for “free attention” to rest, recover and allow the subconscious mind to process and internalize performance.

In Daniel H. Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, he explores the nature of outsourcing and describes how and why the process of creativity and design is difficult, if not impossible, to outsource. Others may be able to mass-produce products like iPhones for American consumption, but no factory exists that can mass-produce the designing and conceptualization of such a product.

The saddest text message I’ve never seen

Nothing makes me more upset than watching a person, stuck in life, hoping for or responding to a text message and checking a device every few minutes in anticipation. Each glance, each text that distracts takes a tiny piece of new possibility away. I so badly want to slap that phone away and scream “Give your brain a chance to recover and breathe!” No matter the content of the text it saddens me. I know, just as the vigilant phone checker knows, that nothing life changing will vibrate, ping or alert its way into his life. There is no potential emergency more real than the one occurring as life passes by… character by character, emoticon by emoticon.

Distracted, overwhelmed, lost and stagnant describes too many of our lives. A state of being, that is sad within itself, becomes downright depressing when the realization occurs that these life sucking situations are self inflicted.

The good news is that we are vaguely aware that the critical progression of which we are in desperate need can be generated from within.