Lacking Creativity? Try FlyingBy: Henry Ehrlich
There is 25 percent less oxygen on board an airplane than on the ground and the most sensitive organ to lack of oxygen is the brain....I advise people to relax or do something creative, such as preparing a speech...It is in that stage between consciousness and sleeping that we can be at our most inspired.If you have a problem coming up with fresh ideas for getting across tired messages, air travel may be the answer to your prayers. It’s not a solution for everyone. In these times of tight corporate T&E budgets, expense accounts for most of us haven’t kept up with the high cost of air travel. “What was the purpose of this trip to Paris?” “Inspiration for the chairman’s annual meeting remarks.” “What about the five nights at Georges Cinq and dinners at La Tour d’argent?” “Pure hell, but the company doctor told me I had to eat and sleep between flights.”
Unless your employer is very generous, you may have to fall back on a much cheaper alternative to achieve the requisite degree of oxygen starvation--tying your necktie too tight. Looking back on my years on corporate payrolls, that may have been the key to my extraordinary output.
Of course, anyone who has read the undergraduate poetry of the 1960s can attest that excessive reliance on bio-chemical means to induce creativity has its limitations. As Lily Tomlin once said, “I’m afraid that drugs have made us more creative than we really are.” The same may be true for airborne partial asphyxiation. If Mr. Kahn is to be believed, material that seemed brilliant at 35,000 feet may not bear up to scrutiny at sea level. This raises the question of what happens to people who spend half their lives on airplanes. No one in business spends more time flying than management consultants, which may account for the fertility of their imaginations. Unfortunately, they are often not as discriminating about their new ideas as they should be when they come back to earth.
As a freelancer, I fly only intermittently, almost never wear ties, and therefore spend my life in as oxygen-rich an environment as New York City will allow, so I have had to find other means to trip the relevant circuits.
© Copyright 1999, Henry Ehrlich
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