To update your software, take a vacation

When you begin to ask questions like “why”, crazy things happen. When it comes to our daily routine, however, “why” is the least asked question of all. We figure that we must have arrived at our current routine by gradual evolution; by tinkering and tweaking until we’ve found something agreeable. We then live on by this standard flow for as long as possible, sometimes years. And yet while we sit here judging and questioning articles, people, and events, our daily flow slips by undetected and unquestioned, as if it were an immediately trusted and familiar face. Our daily flow dictates our productivity and progress — should this not be the most scrutinized and closely observed aspect of our life?

Now, before you start feeling guilty that you ought to have been more critical of your daily routine, let’s first acknowledge this isn’t your fault. The fact is, modifying your daily routine frequently and routinely would be exhausting and counter productive. Our mind automates and routines tasks for a reason. It would be tiresome to be constantly inundated with meta analysis. If you find yourself sitting in a comfortable home with comfortable clothes and modern technology, perhaps your morning routine has done you some good to get you where you are today. But it, like all great things, must come to an end and make room for the new. And the new has potential to be even greater.

The problem is, you don’t typically wake up one day and say, “well, time to completely kill off my routine and design a new one from scratch.” That’s just not how it works. And truthfully, I sometimes get too comfortable in my own routine and would find change inconvenient. But let’s look through a broader scope in the eyes of the most change-savvy process of all: evolution. In the perspective of the subjects of evolution, change is scary because it leads to risk which could lead to death. In the perspective of evolution, however, change is diversification and therefore a must — as is death. And so the universe with all its reckless abandon sends asteroids crashing on our planet, destroying everything our planet has worked so hard for so that something new could arise from the ashes. The Earth continues this violent need for change with storms and hurricanes, earthquakes and erosion, wildfires and tornados. This is brute-force change, and it’s immediately effective.

How do you brute-force change in your daily flow? Interrupt it.

What’s a good excuse to interrupt your beloved daily routine that you have come to cherish and depend on for the last several months and years? A vacation.

Travel somewhere, whether domestically or abroad, and embed yourself in that foreign culture and geography such that you forget about home. Being far from home and away from the things that have enabled your previous daily routine will force upon you a new temporary routine, one that consists of a varied mix of whatever is necessary to be done at a given point as well some spontaneity and creative planning.

When you come back home from your intoxicating vacation, you’ll stumble and slip on every step of your previous routine. It won’t feel quite as natural anymore. Your brain has awoken from the deep and hypnotic slumber that encapsulated and automated what your daily routine was, and you now find yourself in the driver’s seat of a manual vehicle. You won’t feel right for the first few days. You’ll regret ever taking a vacation for the inconvenience it has caused in your life. Your vacation has bored you of your previous routine and you are now pressed to find a new one, and for that you curse your decision. Change is inconvenient.

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