You will remember the experience more than the place.

Design, at its heart, is about solving problems. That’s why it’s so easy to talk to designers. They can explain exactly how their interface is built to help you navigate through your phone, or how a device was shaped to make it possible for mass manufacturing on the assembly line.

But over the course of hundreds of conversations with designers, I’ve begun to wonder: If most people’s goal is to live a happy life, why did I never hear designers explain how they’d built something to make me happy?



Think about Disneyland where you literally go through a dark tunnel, kind of a mythic experience where you go through a compressed space and come out the other side, Architects use this a lot; Frank Lloyd Wright used this a lot in his houses. You’ve completely left the world you were in, and you’re in a very very different world. The sites, the sounds, the smells . . . suddenly you’re in this world where there are marching bands and the smell of fudge and horses and giant mice that are waving at you and people who are very friendly and people are hugging big bears, and it’s just fine . . . and without that transition, without stepping through a portal, you lose that opportunity to reset the state of mind of guests.

Instead of getting discouraged about major roadblocks, think about your problem in reverse.

This means turning a negative statement into a positive one, and vice versa.

For example, let’s say your main marketing objective is to increase brand awareness within the millennial target market.

Instead of asking how do I appeal to this target market? You may reverse your thinking to instead ask yourself: how can I make sure this target market is never exposed to my brand?

The answer could be to never launched social media marketing campaigns or never conduct market research to identify current trends.

By reversing the situation, you can see problems in a new light and decide what to prioritize.

English is a universal language.

I was surprised how many people spoke English (apparently more than 1.8 billion people worldwide). Places where English was less prevalent, I made an effort to learn a handful of words and phrases in the local language. Even though it’s passable, I do desire to learn another language fluently. You can only take the conversation so far when all you can say is: “¿Esto contiene gluten?”

It’s possible to communicate a lot without saying a word. For instance, I left my phone at a restaurant in Chile. I pointed at the table where I was sitting, put my hand to my ear like a phone, then shrugged — 2 minutes later, my phone had been retrieved.

Trust your intuition.

I learned to trust that tiny voice in my head a bit more. When you are alone in a foreign country and your phone is dead, you are forced to trust your intuition. Is this neighborhood safe to walk around? Is this person someone I should interact with? Am I heading the right direction? Intuition is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. It feels like a sixth sense when you’re able to read between the lines of a situation.

The world is endless. The world’s a tiny neighborhood. My fav people are the ones who can hold two impossible ideas in their heads.