Getting Outside of the Box

In the Fedora Project we exchange a lot of ideas on mailing lists and IRC.  Some of our conversations go around in circles no matter what year it is.  One reason for the lack of progress is fear of failure.  Another could be that we spend too much time talking to each other and need input from places that aren’t “all things Fedora.”

The same questions that I ask about Fedora’s strategic direction I also ask for myself–Where am I going?  What do I want to achieve?  Where can I get new ideas to expand my thinking beyond what I already know?  How can I get out of the ruts in my thinking and find new ideas?

Last year I attended a local workshop called Escape from Cubicle Nation. The seminar was given by Pamela Slim, author of a book by the same name.  I have not read the book.  A friend of mine says it is very good.  A big thanks to Rick Turoczy for calling this event out which I probably wouldn’t have heard about otherwise.

It was a really fun event because it was far outside the realm of the open source scene I am used to.  Present, were a variety of local freelancers, small business owners, and professional bloggers–most I had never heard of.  These people had completely different daily concerns and problems they were trying to solve–that was refreshing.  It was also a great view into other interesting things going on in Portland.  I learned a lot of interesting things about myself, leadership, and what it takes to have your own business.

Two really interesting blogs I heard about and started following as a result were:

  • The Art of Nonconformity by Chris Gillebeau.  Chris’ goal is to visit every country in the world by the time he is 35, and he is well on his way.  He clarified the concept of false dichotomies for me.

Try one of these ideas to tried to broaden your perspective:

  • Run Ubuntu instead of Fedora.
  • Follow Planet Ubuntu and see what good things you can learn about the Ubuntu community compared to Fedora Planet–that’s where I learned about Terminator.
  • Flip through an entire issue of a magazine you’ve never read before.
  • Get involved in those unfamiliar things that look interesting or pull at you–try them, even if they cost money.
  • Read a book about being more creative and getting outside of your regular world.  The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is a fantastic place to start.

What techniques do you use to broaden your perspective?

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