Systematic Exploration

Whether you are visiting a new place, or visiting a very familiar, systematic exploration can help you become familiar with your surroundings. Systematic exploration is the process of exploring every possible dimension of the place you are in. A simple example is that you go to the grocery store. Instead of visiting only the aisles that contain things of interest to you, visit every aisle in sequence. While you are doing this hold in your mind the intention that you will find something cool that you've never seen before. This works for new grocery stores and ones you have frequently used. One time, I was in Walmart and I decided to systematically explore the grocery section. Just from this decision I found some great textured vegetable protein hidden in the freezer section.

This technique also works if you start a new job. When you start the job, visit every person's office, visit every workstation on the shop floor, look inside every tool chest. People might think you are nuts but in no time you will not have to interrupt people to find things for you and soon you might even be telling others where things are.

Systematic exploration can help you learn more about where you live. Instead of just driving or walking from where you are to where you want to go, take different routes each time so you can explore where different shops and entertaining things are. Just last week I found an awesome view of east Las Vegas by systematically exploring some roads. I also stumbled upon a large yard that was completely filled with Christmas lights and people touring a chocolate factory. Now I know how to find a great view and a chocolate factory, which was totally worth the extra gasoline I had to use to do it.

All of us have a little extra time each week, extend your commute a little bit so that you can find something interesting. Consider exploring to be a fun date in itself. Instead of planning where to go say, "How about we go exploring?"

published 2008-12-12

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