The Airplane Effect (Explained)

I don’t fly a lot – maybe 4 or 5 times a year. But over the last couple of years, I have been curious about something – flying seems to accelerate my brain.

 Most of my flight involves the eastern half of the US; though occasionally I head west. My typical pattern is to buy a magazine that I would not normally read at the airport while I am waiting to board. Once on the flight, I will read the magazine from cover to cover, including ads. I highlight stories, phrases, and photos – anything that catches my eye and categorize them for later use. I find that the difference in environment stimulates thinking patterns. It also forces me to focus, as there are relatively few distractions on the flight.

Oftentimes, a single phrase, sentence, or photo will form the genesis of a blog post, magazine article, or presentation for a client. Take this illustration from yesterday’s post: a Swiss Army Knife combined with a 2 GB flash drive.

When I saw this item in a magazine, my first thought was – this is really cool! Then, in a stream of consciousness, the following thoughts occurred:

  • The use of a Swiss Army knife (scissors) in the most recent Pink Panther movies
  • The time when my youngest son cut the tip of his thumb nearly off with a Swiss Army knife (that he “borrowed” from his older brother)
  • Dealing with that crisis while simultaneously dealing with my daughter’s broken wrist, which happened 5 minutes before
  • Trying to explain both of these to the ER personnel while avoiding being reported to Family Services
  • The ubiquitous Swiss Army brand and how it is used (my brief case, for example)
  • How did the Swiss Army brand originate?
  • Can you take this item through TSA at the airport?
  • Do we have Swiss Army items in the church?

So, in about 15 seconds thought, I surmised that it was a great idea but maybe not practical for an airline traveler.

That last thought about Swiss Army items in the church was just – weird. But it made me ponder that those two items can’t possibly go together.

Which puts it in the category of a meatball sundae.

Which is for tomorrow’s post.



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