Weekly Digest: October 28, 2016

Walalapo (good morning in Oshiwambo, one of the largest Namibian dialects)! Here is your weekly dose of my best tips for how to travel the world while you grow your career and make a difference.

Sorry for skipping last week’s digest. I was driving through the Namibian desert and did not have internet for a few days.

Travel the world

In case you need another good reason to travel, this article from The Atlantic is for you. Scientists say that travel makes you more creative. “Creativity is related to neuroplasticity, or how the brain is wired. Neural pathways are influenced by environment and habit, meaning they’re also sensitive to change: New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain and may have the potential to revitalize the mind.” Foreign travel also increases “cognitive flexibility and depth, and integrativeness of thought,” which are key components of creativity. So travel more, it’s science.

Grow your career

If you have a creative pursuit, remember what Ira Glass (producer and host of This American Life) said about the Taste Gap (slightly paraphrased for length): “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. Everybody goes through that. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through that, okay?”

Make a difference

I was just in South Africa and reflecting on Nelson Mandela and the many appalling and inspiring aspects of South African history. This had me thinking a lot about the importance of politics and government, so just wanted to urge and remind all my American readers to make sure you vote in less than 2 weeks. If you are traveling, here is the resource I used to vote absentee: Overseas Vote. If your state does not allow online voting and you did not receive an absentee ballot in the mail, you can still vote for president through the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) Voter’s Declaration / Affirmation process on the site.

Fun updates:

  • Most popular post on Instagram  –  From North to South, going from Iceland to South Africa
  • Featured article  –  The Atlantic’s For a More Creative Brain, Travel (mentioned above)
  • Quote of the week  –  Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have.

Thanks for your attention and have an awesome weekend!


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