Ok, warning, I am well rested and therefore completely full of shit today. Read no further.
One day in 1998, my boss Elizabeth, walked into my cubicle and demanded my much-delayed product requirements document for the first Cisco IP Phone. I had been procrastinating delivering it as I was cramming my head with as much telephony market data as I could scrounge, as I was a data guy, not a voice guy. Well, the day had finally arrived, and she demanded the PRD forthwith else I would get a drumming from her.
I knew that I would not be able to accomplish this task while in the office with all the interruptions, so I fled to my small dark bachelor pad in Palo Alto, and ultimately decided to don my backpack and set off for a lighter, roomier setting. I eventually found my way to the Rodin sculpture garden at Stanford University, a short distance from my condo. The oxygen and ozone of the campus, the beauty of the sculpture, and the Mozart on my headphones magically interacted with each other, which allowed me to write fifty pages of the PRD before the sun went down that evening.
In the subsequent decade with Cisco, I would ultimately find my way back to that same bench at Stanford when I needed to summon the creative muses. Of the tens of products I have 'authored' directly at Cisco, the vast majority of them can trace their paternity to that bench ten feed from the Catyadid.
This week and weekend I've had ample opportunity to find my way back to the magic bench, and it has not lost any of the psychological anchoring even though I've added two chapters to my life since last I encamped there. I wonder how much of it is psychological, and how much is environmental. Like all things in this life, it's most likely not an absolute one or the other, but a bit of both.