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Surprising Science

In Praise of Vacation

When we feel distant from our work—when it seems wonderfully far away—we are able to think about work in a new way. We have the breakthrough while on break, says Jonah Lehrer.

When we escape from the places where we spend most of our time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas we’d previously suppressed. We start thinking about obscure possibilities—corn can fuel cars!—that never would have occurred to us if we’d checked in with the office everyday. Too often, we fail to consider the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always “close” to the problems of work, when we never silence our phones or stop responding to email, we get trapped into certain mental habits.


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